Description from Flora of China
Trees or rarely shrubs, evergreen. Winter buds terminal, ovoid to ellipsoid, scales spirally imbricate. Stipules extrapetiolar. Leaves spirally arranged. Inflorescences male, female, or androgynous, in leaf axils toward base of branchlets or in a dense paniculate cluster on subterminal shoots, ± erect. Male inflorescences erect, simple or branched; flowers usually 3-5(-7) in dichasial clusters; perianth 4-6-lobed; stamens 10-12; rudimentary pistil small, enclosed by hairs. Female flowers solitary or in clusters of (2 or)3(-5), 1 or 2(or 3) well developed; perianth 6-lobed; staminodes 10-12; ovary 3(-6) loculed; styles (2 or)3(-5), (0.5-)1-2(-3) mm; stigmas a terminal pore. Cupules grouped together in cymes on rachis but often many aborted, corky, horny, woody, or crustaceous, completely or partly enclosing nut; bracts variously shaped. Nut 1 per cupule. Germination hypogeal; cotyledons flat-convex (although surface between cotyledons may not be completely flat).
About 300 species: mainly in Asia, one species in W North America; 123 species (69 endemic) in China.
The northern limit of Lithocarpus is on the S flank of the Qinling Mountains. Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan have the highest diversity and the most primitive of the Chinese species.