swamp chestnut oak
Quercus michauxii

Secondary Names:
cow oak, basket oak

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large forest tree that can reach a height of 100 feet or more and a trunk diameter to 4 feet. It is generally a single tree or infrequent among the moist woods that include loblolly pine, water oak, sweetgum, green ash, and blackgum.

Range/Site Description:

Occurs in East Texas as far west as the Trinity River, on moist slopes or bottomlands along the major river corridors.


Simple, alternate, 4" to 8" long and 3" to 5" wide, oval or oblong in shape, leaf margin with many rounded teeth and no bristle-tips, dark green and glossy on top and pubescent beneath, turning a rich crimson in the fall.


Separate male and female flowers appear in spring on the same tree. Male flowers borne on a yellowish catkin 1" to 2.5" long; the less conspicuous female flowers are yellow-red in color.


A large acorn, requiring one season to mature, about 1.5" long and 1" in diameter, bright, shiny brown and enclosed by one-third to one-half in a thick, bowl-shaped cup.


Light gray, and on old trees is broken into broad flakes or divided into strips.


Heavy, hard, tough, strong, and takes an excellent polish. Used to manufacture lumber, veneer, shakes, water-tight barrels, fuel, fence posts, and baskets.

Similar Species:

At a distance the tree resembles white oak (Quercus alba), but the leaf lacks deep indentations and the acorn is larger; chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii) has sharper, recurved teeth on the leaf margin and occurs on limestone soils in Central Texas.

Interesting Facts:

Acorns are favored by cows, which gives the tree one of its common names; its wood can be split along the growth rings and used to make baskets, giving it another common name.

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