Plant DetailShow Menu

Chinkapin Oak Quercus muehlenbergii

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus mew-len-BERG-ee-eye
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Chinkapin oak is a member of the white oak group with chestnut-type leaves. Unlike most white oaks, it is tolerant of alkaline soil and needs a pH >7. It is an attractive tree that does best in moist to dry well-drained soil but adapts to different soil types. Its light gray bark and branch structure provide a nice silhouette in winter. A long taproot makes it difficult to transplant. Acorns are produced annually and birds and mammals are attracted to them.

This tree is not often used in cultivation and may be difficult to find, but would make a good shade or street tree.

​​​​​​Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Relatively pest free including resistance to oak wilt. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#street tree#NC native#alkaline soil#deer resistant#acorns#nighttime garden#oak#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#problem for horses#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#street tree#NC native#alkaline soil#deer resistant#acorns#nighttime garden#oak#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#problem for horses#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    muehlenbergii
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood has many uses including barrels, fencing, crossties, fuel and occasionally furniture.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. Ontario to Central & Eastern U.S.A., North Eastern Mexico
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , DC , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV. Found in an entire half of the continental US from New Mexico, Nebraska and Minnesota eastwards.
    Wildlife Value:
    Mildly resistant to deer. Many mammals and birds are attracted to the acorns. Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida.
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/2-1 inch long oval light brown acorns are produced annually with 1-2 acorns per stem. They have a thin grey pubescent cup that covers 1/4- 1/2 of the nut.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Pollen flowers in drooping, elongated clusters. Female flowers short-stemmed in axils of the leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    4- 8 in. shiny green leaves have a smooth upper surface and dull under surface and may have white hairs. Margins are described as either small-lobed or toothed and may or may not be wavy. The tip is pointed (acute) and the base is rounded or acute. Fall color is variable from yellows to browns.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thin, light gray, rough and irregularly fissured.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Orange
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Orange-brown twigs change to brown on the current year’s growth with scattered white lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination when young leaves or raw acorns are eaten.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves