Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinkapin Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Quercus (KWER-kus) (Info)
Species: muehlenbergii (mew-len-BERG-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Quercus acuminata
Synonym:Quercus alexanderi
Synonym:Quercus muhlenbergii
Synonym:Quercus prinoides
Synonym:Quercus prinoides var. acuminata

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 28 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 17, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Handsome shade tree similar looking to White Oak with different shaped leaves and slightly different bark. There are a number of trees growing in the dolomitic limestone soils in Glenwood Park in Batavia, IL on the east side of the Fox River with Blue Ash and Bigtooth Aspens; none of which are trees one just finds everywhere, but just in certain spots.

Positive Gardeningman On Mar 29, 2011, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS wrote:

The Quercus muehlenbergii is very drought tolerant and can handle most soil conditions. It has been named a Texas Superstar. As one member previously commented, the acorns are very sweet and are a preferred food source for a variety of wildlife.
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite trees. I am looking for a tree for my yard and would plant a
Chinkapin Oak if I had the room for it.

Positive steadycam3 On Dec 28, 2010, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I dont see this tree anymore. My great grandparents had a tree growing in sandy soil in Northern Louisiana. We did not refer to its nuts as acorns altho I now know that they surely are. We just called them Chinqapins! The nuts were smaller and more slender than most acorns and were almost black and very shiny. I would like to see more of them grown because the nuts are so sweet and delicious, and can be eaten without any preparation right off the tree. There is none of the bitter tannin taste of the usual acorn.

Positive ViburnumValley On Jan 30, 2008, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Chinkapin oak is one of the great denizens of the historic central KY landscape, along with bur oak and blue ash. The old specimens which persist out in the open agricultural lands exhibit the broad and contorted canopy of a tree which grew up without forest competition.

These trees grow equally well on well-drained upland circumneutral calcareous soils or the richer moister bottomland soils along creeks and watersheds. Along with the aforementioned species, chinkapin oak associates with KY coffeetree, white ash, black cherry, sugar maple, black locust, honeylocust, sycamore, and various hickories.

While the typical chinkapin oak around here has rather reserved yellow fall color, there is variation in the species. I have recently purchased individuals with frighteningly red fall foliage for planting in Louisville's parks.

This is an exceptional oak species which deserves greater use in landscapes that can accommodate its large size.

Neutral smiln32 On Dec 6, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree belongs to the White Oak group. It grows to a height of (up to) 60'. Acorns are small, foliage is deep green and the tree grows at a slow-moderate rate. Foliage in the fall can be nice if the right conditions are present (rain, for one). It does not like heavy soils, like clay. Soil must be well-drained for it to survive.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Batavia, Illinois
Kingman, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas
Shawnee Mission, Kansas (2 reports)
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Paris, Kentucky
Versailles, Kentucky
Jackson, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tidioute, Pennsylvania
Christiana, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Driftwood, Texas
Keller, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
Wimberley, Texas
Cambridge, Wisconsin
Elmwood, Wisconsin

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