Monday, February 20, 2023

Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii

 The Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii, is a medium to large sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of only 40 feet on average but can grow as tall as 100 feet tall in it's ideal settings (well drained alluvial floodplains).  Regardless of the overall height and site location the crown remains compact.   

Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University,

The leaves of this tree range in size from 4-8 inches long.  The leaf blades are leathery in textured and diamond shaped with the widest portions being located two third of the way to the tip of each leaf. Each leaf is coarsely toothed on all sides in a wavy fashion. The leaf surfaces are dark green and smooth while the bottom downy and paler in color.  The bark patterns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak vary and can be tight with shallow parallel ridges/valleys or have long peeling side strips.  The bark of the tree differs in color depending on the location, it is lighter gray in upland settings and dark gray in lowlands. The acorns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak are 1 inch long and light brown in color and sweet to the taste.

Image Citation: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.),

It is very hard to differentiate between the Swamp Chestnut Oak, Chinkapin Oak and White Oak as they share many of the same characteristics.  Swamp Chestnut Oak grows best in low lying bottomlands that periodically flood whereas the other two grow best in well drained soils.  

The lumber from the Swamp Chestnut Oak is grouped with other White Oaks during lumber production.  It can be used in almost any application from tools to furniture to baskets.  The lumber has a very nice appearance and can be left natural in many applications.

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