Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Chinkapin Oak
Give a thumbs up Yellow Chestnut Oak
Give a thumbs up Chinquapin Oak
Give a thumbs up Oak

Botanical names:
Quercus muehlenbergii Accepted
Quercus prinoides var. acuminata Synonym
Quercus acuminata Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Moderately alkaline (7.9 – 8.4)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 60 - 80 feet
Plant Spread: 40 - 60 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Edible Parts: Fruit
Dynamic Accumulator: K (Potassium)
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Seeds are hydrophilic
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Texas Superstar®


Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 7, 2017 2:58 PM

Chinkapin Oak is a most lovely member of the White Oak subgroup that has a good sized native range from the southeast tip of Ontario to some spots in New York & north New Jersey & Pennsylvania down to northwest Florida to east Texas and a little into northeast Mexico in the mountains, up eastern Oklahoma & Kansas through half of Iowa to barely into southern Wisconsin through southern Michigan back to Ontario. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 200 years. It grows in well-drained to dry soils that are barely acid to well-alkaline the most, but it can be found in moist or draining wet soils near watercourses or in bottomlands. I first saw some growing in dry, dolomitic limestone soil near Batavia in northeast Illinois in the 1980's, but I also found three good specimens in slightly acid, moist soil near a creek in Downingtown, Pennsylvania in 2019. This species is one of those plants that is found only in certain spots and is not wide-spread all over the place as Northern Red Oak or Red Maple in much of the eastern USA. Its leaves are 4 to 7 inches long by 1 to 4 inches wide with coarse roundly pointed teeth and some white hair below. (Its leaves are similar to the Chestnut Oak of the Appalachian Region; the Swamp White Oak, and the Swamp Chestnut Oak of the South, the latest that I have never seen.) Cinkapin's bark is much like that of the White Oak; that is ashy gray to gray-brown and scaly. Its acorns are sessile, brown to almost black, ovoid, about 0.5 to 0.8 inches long with the lower half in a bowl-shaped scaly cup. These small acorns, smaller than most of the White Oak Group, are very high value to birds and mammals and it hosts a large number of beneficial insects as other oaks do. A few large, diverse nurseries and some native plant nurseries sell it. I've only seen one planted in the Morton Arboretum landscape; otherwise, I've only seen wild ones.

[ Reply to this comment | Give a thumbs up ]

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Growing in yard where I wouldn't mind a tree. What is it? by Honeybadger1 Jul 17, 2019 9:26 PM 10
Weed or Tree? by Pat810 Jun 9, 2018 9:13 PM 3
Type of tree by Dewayne63368 May 31, 2018 7:01 PM 11

« Add a new plant to the database

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by mmolyson and is called "Moss Phlox Phlox subulata"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.