GROWTH FORM: rhizomatous shrub with a normal height of 3 feet (0.9 m) and exceptional speciments to 30 feet (9.1 m). BARK: papery, light gray. TWIGS and BUDS: brown pubescent twigs, becoming smooth with age; ovoid terminal buds are a dark reddish- brown. LEAVES: short petiole to 1⁄4 inch (6 mm); leaves are ovate or elliptical, 2 - 4 inches (51 - 101 mm) long, 3⁄4 - 2 inches (19 - 51 mm) wide; thick and with a rounded or cuneate base, margins generally have deep lobes with 2 - 3 rounded teeth on each side, apex rounded; upper surface shiny light green, lower surface has densely tawny tomentum.
This species was named for the U.S. Army surgeon and botanist, Valery Havard. Because Havard oak thrives in a harsh environment, it functions as a sand dune stabilizer and provides critical habitat for the endangered sand dune lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus). Although the acorns are an important food source for wildlife, the leaves are toxic to livestock. Use of herbicides to eradicate Havard oak has resulted in habitat loss and a drastic decline in sand dune lizard populations. The largest known Havard oak grows in Yoakum County, Texas.