Pubscent Oak (Downy)
Quercus pubescens Fr: Chêne Pubescent
This oak, also called the Downy Oak, is very typical of the middle Beyond region; roughly between 400 and 1000 m altitude. They are capable of growing into massive trees but, with frequent cutting for firewood and the often meagre soils on which they grow, they stay stubby and multitrunked.
Leaves on new growth have a downy grey covering from which it gets its name. The dead, russet-brown leaves of the fall often hang on through much of the winter, even until the new leaves form in spring. In the springtime, in a typical forest of dark green cork oak and kermes oak, an occasional pubescent oak stands out as a contrasting pale-bright green.
In the Alpes-Maritimes they are common around Fayence, Mons and St. Cézaire-sur-Siagne (25-30 km west of Grasse). In the Var, vast areas of the Maures have pubescent oak mixed with the cork-oak forests.