Quercus muehlenbergii Fagaceae
Chinkapin Oak, Chinquapin Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak kwer-KUS mu-len-BER-je-i
- Broadleaf deciduous tree, to 40-50(80) ft [12-15(24) m] tall, spread at maturity is greater than height,
low branches, rounded crown. Leaves alternate, simple, size and shape variable, 10-18 cm long and 2.5-10 cm wide,
oblong, lanceolate, or obovate, leathery, 8-14 teeth on each side, teeth variable, rounded, sharp or spreading, tip pointed, base rounded or acute, upper surface dark, glossy yellow green, lower surface white with soft hairs. Monoecious (male and female flowers), male catkins 7-10 cm long; female flowers in short spikes. Fruit (acorn) on a short stalk (5 mm) or essentially no stalk (sessile), cup covers 1/4 to 1/2 of the nut, which is 1.5-2 cm long and 1-1.7 cm wide.
- Sun. Grows best in rich, alkaline soils.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (4)5 Native range extends from New England east to
southern Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Oklahoma and south-central Texas, and northern Mexico and east
to Virginia, the Carolinas and northwestern Florida.
- The following is from the Flora of North America (www.eFlora.org).
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.
- muehlenbergii: after Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muehlenberg (1753-1815), Lutheran pastor in Pennsylvania and a distinguished amateur botanist.