Quercus muehlenbergii – Chinkapin Oak
Botanical Name: Quercus muehlenbergii
Alternate Name: Chinquapin Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak
The Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) is a medium sized deciduous tree with a rounded crown. It grows to a height of 40-60 feet tall with a spread of 50-70 feet. This oak tree originates from central and eastern North America. It is found growing in rocky, dry uplands, often in alkaline soils.
The flowers of the Chinkapin Oak tree appear in spring as the leaves emerge. They are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow in color, and form separate male and female catkins on the same tree.
The acorns are small ovals that grow up to 3/4 inch in size, with scaly cups that cover up to half of the acorn’s length. The fruit attracts wildlife, although this tree can live up to 30 years before producing a big crop.
The leaves are a bright, shiny green, lance or oblong shaped, and 4-7 inches long. They look similar to the leaves of a chestnut tree (Castanea) with their irregularly wavy margins or coarse teeth. The fruit of the chestnut tree are called chinquapin – giving this oak its common name. The fall color is variable but usually pretty, with a mix of yellows, reds, and browns.
The Chinkapin Oak tree can adapt to a range of soil types. It also has some tolerance for dry soils and drought conditions.