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Plant Details

Quercus michauxii [= Quercus prinus]

Swamp Chestnut Oak, Basket Oak, Cow Oak

Scientific Name:

Quercus michauxii [= Quercus prinus]

Genus:

Quercus

Species Epithet:

michauxii

Common Name:

Swamp Chestnut Oak, Basket Oak, Cow Oak

Plant Type

Tree

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

72-100 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Red, Yellow

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist, Wet

Bloom Time:

April

Growing Area:

Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Bottomland forests, especially in fertile soils of upper terraces where flooded only infrequently and for short periods, upland depression ponds, sometimes on moist lower slopes. Uncommon in NC Piedmont, common in Coastal Plain.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Important for Wildlife

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

Notes:

This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer. Host plant for Banded Hairstreak, Edward's Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, White-M Hairstreak, Horace's Duskywing, Juvenal's Duskywing butterflies, and many moths. Acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, Blue Jays, ducks, small mammals, Wild Turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bears.

Leaves

The leaves are roughly diamond-shaped, wider above the middle, and pale underneath. Up to 6" wide and 9" long.

image

Jack Spruill, Hampstead, July, 2010

Q. michauxii grows best in bottomlands that are periodically flooded. The acorns are sweet and prized by small mammals and by livestock (thus the Cow Oak name.)

Bark

Bark is pale gray with scaly plates, similar to White Oak, Q. alba.
Strips of wood were used to make baskets. The lumber is hard and strong and used in furniture and flooring.

image

Jack Spruill, Hampstead, July, 2010

Fall leaves

image

Jack Spruill, Hampstead, Nov 2010

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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