A large tree with a long, straight trunk and a broad, rounded crown.
Leaves alternate, simple, 5–9 inches long, 2–4 inches wide; margin entire, with 6–10 lobes; lobes rounded at the tip; upper surface bright green, smooth, often shiny; lower surface whitened, smooth (without hairs).
Bark light gray, with shallow grooves and flat, loose ridges; large limbs and branches scaly.
Twigs slender to stout, green to reddish-green, and hairy when young, turning red-brown to ash gray and smooth with age.
Flowering is in April–May. Male and female flowers are on the same tree; male flowers in drooping catkins, female flowers small and in leaf axils.
Fruits September–October, acorn solitary or in pairs; nut light brown, shiny, widest near the base or middle, tapering to a round tip ¾-1 inch long; cup covering up to ¼ of the nut, bowl-shaped to saucer-shaped, light brown; scales numerous, surface warty or corky, flattened, knobby. Acorns ripen in autumn of the first year.