Friday, January 12, 2018
The Chinkapin (Chinquapin) Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
The Chinkapin (Chinquapin) Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii is a medium to large deciduous tree. The name Chinkapin originated from the strong resemblance to the Allegheny Chinquapin Castanea pumila (a relative of the American Chestnut). At full maturity the Chinkapin can reach heights of 70 feet with a broad and rounded crown. It is a slow to moderate grower that does best in zones 3-9. Although native to these zones, Chinkapin Oak is sporadic within its range and is seldom a dominant species in a woodland. Its common associates include White, Bur and Black Oaks, Ironwood, Red Cedar and Hickories. Chinkapin Oak prefers well drained soils, bottomlands, limestone ridges, or along stream edges. It is also commonly found on bluffs, ridge tops, and rocky, south facing slopes.
Image Citation (Photos 1& 2): Jason Sharman, Vitalitree, Bugwood.org
The leaves are alternate, oval, elliptical, or oblong in shape, 4" to 6" long and 1.5" to 2" wide. The leaf edges are sharply toothed in almost a serrated fashion. Male and female flowers appear separately but on the same tree in Spring. Male flowers borne on a yellowish catkin 3" to 4" long, while the female flowers are less conspicuous and reddish in color. The bark is light gray in color, with short, narrow flakes on the main trunk and limbs, and deep furrows on older trunks. The wood of the Chinkapin Oak is heavy, hard, strong, and durable. It is used for making barrels, fencing, fuel, and occasionally for furniture.
Image Citation (Photo 3 & 4): Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org