Plant Details

Quercus michauxii [= Quercus prinus]

Swamp Chestnut Oak, Basket Oak, Cow Oak

Scientific Name:

Quercus michauxii [= Quercus prinus]

Common Name:

Swamp Chestnut Oak, Basket Oak, Cow Oak

Plant Family

Fagaceae (Beech Family)


NC Native



Size in Feet:


Bloom Area:

Coast, Piedmont

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.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


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.


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


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 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.


Jack Spruill, Hampstead, July, 2010

Fall leaves


Jack Spruill, Hampstead, Nov 2010


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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