- Deciduous tree, 40-65 ft (12-20 m) tall with an equal spread, rounded habit when young, broad rounded at maturity, often low branching, may be shrubby. Leaves alternate, simple, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 8-15 cm long, rounded or truncate at the base, apex gradually tapering to a point (acuminate), margin coarsely serrated (teeth triangular or tapered to a stiff tip), lustrous dark green above, whitish tomentose or green and soft pubescence below, at least on the veins; petiole 0.5-1 long, often hairy. Flowers creamy or pale yellow, unpleasant odor, male (staminate) flowers in erect cylindrical catkins, female (pistilate) flowers on the lower part of the upper male catkins, usually 3 flowers in a prickly involucre. Fruit enclosed in a prickly burs that are 5-8 cm diameter containing 2-4 edible nuts, glossy brown.
- Full sun. Does well in hot dry climates, best in acid soil.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 4 Native to northern China and Korea.
- mollissima: from the Latin mollis, soft, with soft hairs, and -issima, essentially a superlative, so, very soft, a reference to the hairiness of the leaves and twigs.