Swamp Chestnut Oak - Cow Oak - Basket Oak
Quercus michauxii Nutt.
Fagaceae (Beech) Family

Swamp Chestnut Oak is a moderate-sized tree which attains a height of 60 to 80 feet and a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet or more; with a compact, rather narrow crown. It inhabits bottomlands which are periodically inundated for short periods, rather than permanently flooded swamps. Usually it occurs as a scattered tree but locally it is sometimes quite abundant. The range of this tree extends through the coastal plain from New Jersey southward to central Florida and westward to eastern Texas; northward, in the Mississippi Valley, to central Illinois and southeastern Ohio.

The leaves are obovate in outline, short to long-pointed at the tip, and pointed at the base; from 5 to 8 inches long and from 3 to 5 inches wide. The margins are coarsely wave-toothed. They are dark green, smooth, and lustrous above; pale and whitish-downy beneath.

The fruit is 1 to 1-1/2 inches long, oblong ovoid, and lustrous brown; with short-stalked or sessile, deeply bowl-shaped cups.

The Swamp Chestnut Oak is also called "Basket Oak" because baskets were woven from fibers and splints obtained by splitting the wood. These strong containers were used to carry cotton from the fields. The sweetish acorns can be eaten raw, without boiling. Cows consume the acorns, hence the name "Cow Oak."

Previous Page    Return to Index     Next Page