Quercus prinus, Quercus montana – Chestnut Oak
Botanical Name: Quercus prinus, Quercus montana
Alternate Name: Basket Oak, Rock Oak
The Chestnut Oak is a medium to large sized deciduous tree. It is found growing in the central and eastern regions of the United States. The growth habit is pyramidal or oval as a juvenile, developing into a dense, rounded irregular crown as the tree matures. It grows to a height of 50-70 feet tall with a spread of 50-70 feet but can grow even larger.
The flowers of the Chestnut Oak are catkins, with both male and female flowers found growing separately on the same tree. The fruits are rich brown colored acorns that are oval shaped and grow up to 1 1/2 inches long. They sit in scaly cups that cover half the length of the fruit. This tree is important in providing food for wildlife.
The leaves look similar to those of a chestnut tree, giving this oak its common name. They grow up to 7 inches long and are a dark, leathery green with lighter, fuzzy undersides. The leaf shape is obovate (wider towards the tip than the base), with coarse teeth around the margins. The bark also looks similar to that of a chestnut tree – it is dark brown or black and deeply furrowed in mature trees.
The Chestnut Oak grows bigger in moist, well-drained soils but will tolerate poor soils and drier conditions. It tolerates rocky soils, giving this oak another of its common names, the Rock Oak.