CHINKAPIN OAK
File Size: 57 KB
 
Quercus muehlenbergii  Engelm.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Height: 33-50 feet, smaller westward
Family: Fagaceae - Oak Family
Flowering Period:   May
Also Called: Chinquapin oak, chestnut oak.
Trunks: Erect, diameter 12 to 40 inches; crown narrow, rounded; bark thin, gray, less than .5 inch thick, shallow furrows, short, flaky ridges.
Twigs: Slender, stiff, fine-pubescent, becoming glabrous, initially greenish, becoming brown or gray; buds egg-shaped, slightly hairy, reddish-brown; leaf scars half-round, somewhat elevated; bundle scars 10 or more, scattered.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, deciduous, oblong-lanceolete to obovate, 1.2 to 8 inches long, .4 to 4 inches wide, firm, leathery; upper surface dark-green, shiny; lower surface pale green, pubescent when young, becoming glabrous when mature; margins coarsely toothed, teeth 6-13 on each side, often directed forward; main veins extending to each tooth, parallel; tip short- or long-pointed; stalk slender, .5 to 1.4 inch long.
Flowers: May, with the leaves partly grown; male and female flowers on same tree; staminate flowers in catkins 2.8 to 4 inches long; calyx bell-shaped, 5-8-lobed, yellowish, hairy; corolla absent stamens 4-8; anthers yellow, small; pistillate flowers sessile or in short spikes, spherical, about .6 inch in diameter, woolly; stigma disc-like, 3-lobed, yellowish-green.
Fruit: September; acorns 1-2, 1-seeded, sessile or short-stalked; cup hemispheric, .25 to .4 inch high, .3 to .8 inch wide, brownish-gray, lumpy, enclosing 1/4 to 1/2 of nut; scales small, closely overlapping, gray-pubescent; nut egg-shaped, .5 to 1 inch long, brown, downy, tip rounded, base flattened; kernel edible, sweet.
Habitat: Rocky hillsides, bluffs, upland woods, rich bottom lands, frequently in woodland borders, sometimes restricted to north slopes; calcareous soils.
Distribution: East half of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans steeped the bark and took the tea for vomiting.
Comments: Leaves turn deep yellow and scarlet in autumn. The wood is heavy, very hard, strong, close-grained, dark brown, durable; used for flooring, furniture, fence posts, railway ties, and fuel. Muehlenbergii is in honor of Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muehlenberg, 1753-1815, a German-educated Lutheran minister and pioneer botanist in Pennsylvania.

Chinkapin oak staminate flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
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Chinkapin oak bark
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak leaves
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak acorns
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Chinkapin oak acorns
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Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak buds
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak pistillate flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak pistillate flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Chinkapin oak leaves
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas