The forest silver oak is a medium to tall tree growing to heights ranging between 6 m and 30 m (SA Tree List No. 731). It used to be called Brachylaena discolor subsp. transvaalensis and is sometimes sunk into B. discolor.
The tree bears large inflorescences at branch ends and from leaf axils. These panicles become from 5 cm to 16 cm long, appearing from midwinter through spring. Individual flowerheads are small, cup-shaped, measuring from 4 mm to 8 mm by 2 mm to 4 mm. There are four to six rows of involucral bracts around the florets, extending down to the flower stalk. The florets are creamy white. The fruit is a small nutlet or achene crowned with creamy brown bristles.
The distribution is along the escarpment in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The habitat is evergreen or semi-deciduous forest, forest margins and wooded grassland, where the trees grow at medium elevations (Schmidt, et al, 2002; Coates Palgrave, 2002).