Quercus montana (formerly Quercus prinus) Fagaceae
Mountain or Rock Chestnut Oak, Chestnut Oak kwer-KUS mon-TAN-ah
- Broadleaf deciduous tree, to 60-80 ft (18-24 m) tall, pyramidal to oval when young, finally forming a
rounded compact crown. Bark brown to nearly black, firm ridged, not scaly. Leaves
alternate, simple, mostly 10-15 cm long and 4-9 cm wide, obovate to obovate-oblong, apex acute or acuminate,
base wedge-shaped to rounded, margin coarsely and irregularly lobed (some say toothed), about 10-14 pairs of
lobes, each oblique rounded, sometimes with a short tip (mucronate), dark green above and grayish pubescence
below; petiole 1-3 cm long. Male flowers are in catkins 7.5-10 cm in long, female flowers on short
stalks. Acorns solitary or paired, 2.5-4 cm long, stalkless or nearly so, enclosed a third of its
length by a thick cup often broad and flat on the bottom, rim of the cup without a fringe.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 4 Native range from Ontario and southern Maine,
east to Michigan, Illinois, and south to South Carolina and Alabama.
- The following is from the Flora of North America (www.eFlora.org).
montana: of the mountains.
The four species of the chestnut oak group in eastern North America (Quercus montana,
Q . michauxii, Q . muhlenbergii and Q . prinoides) are somewhat difficult to
distinguish unless careful attention is paid to features of leaf vestiture and fruit and cup morphology.
Attempts to identify these species mostly or solely on basis of leaf shape and dentition (as in many other
oak species complexes) have resulted in a plethora of misidentified material in herbaria and erroneous
reports in the literature. The closely appressed, asymmetric trichomes on the abaxial surface of the mature
leaf, in combination with longer simple hairs along the midvein, are unique to Q . montana among
North American species of Quercus. Immature leaves and densely shaded leaves
sometimes exhibit a more erect trichome that could be confused with the longer, felty hairs of
Q . michauxii, so it is important to evaluate mature sun leaves when possible.