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Swamp Chestnut Oak, A Common Tree in North America

Quercus michauxii, A Top 100 Common Tree in North America


Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) is known also as basket oak, for the baskets made from its wood, and cow oak because cows eat the acorns. One of the important timber trees of the South, it grows on moist and wet loamy soils of bottom lands, along streams and borders of swamps in mixed hardwoods. The high quality wood is used in all kinds of construction and for implements. The acorns are sweet and serve as food to wildlife.

1. The Silviculture of Swamp Chestnut Oak

Steve Nix
Wood from swamp chestnut oak is commercially useful for lumber in all kinds of construction, for agricultural implements, cooperage, fenceposts, baskets, and fuel. Acorns from swamp chestnut oak serve as mast for various species of birds and mammals.

2. The Images of Swamp Chestnut Oak

Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of swamp chestnut oak. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Fagales > Fagaceae > Quercus michauxii. Swamp chestnut oak is also commonly called basket oak.

3. The Range of Swamp Chestnut Oak

Swamp Chestnut Oak Range
Swamp chestnut oak extends along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from New Jersey and extreme eastern Pennsylvania, south to north Florida, and west to east Texas; it is found north in the Mississippi River Valley to extreme southeast Oklahoma, Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and locally to southeast Kentucky and eastern Tennessee.

4. Swamp Chestnut Oak at Virginia Tech

Leaf: Alternate, simple, obovate, 4 to 8 inches long, 3 to 5 inches wide, margin with large round blunt teeth, dark green and shiny above, pale and downy below.

Twig: Moderately stout, smooth or quite fuzzy, orangish brown, terminal bud 1/4 inch long, reddish brown, buds cluster near ends of twig.

5. Fire Effects on Swamp Chestnut Oak

All oaks sprout from the stem when top-killed by fire. Sprouting vigor decreases as the tree increases in size and age. Seedlings can initially develop an "S"-shaped crook in the shoot at the soil surface. This protects dormant buds from the heat of flames, allowing them to sprout following fire. With repeated fires, stems become calloused and harbor dormant buds within this tissue.

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