Chinkapin Oak

Quercus muehlenbergii Engelm.



All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.

Family:  Fagaceae

Native or Introduced to Illinois:  native 

Natural Habit in Illinois:  dry limestone cliffs; upland woods

Leaf:  The single leaves are oblong, 3 to 6 inches in length and 1-1/2 to 3 inches wide, coarsely and sharply toothed.  They are thick and firm, light yellow-green above to silvery white below.

Flower:  The Chinkapin Oak blooms in May and early June with light yellow flowers.

Fruit:  The acorn is broadly oval, chestnut brown in color and enclosed for one-half its length in the cup.

Twig:  The twigs are greenish tinged with red or purplish red, turning orange-brown or gray-brown. 

Bark:  The bark is quite thin, breaking into plate-like scales, similar to white oak bark.

Size/Form/Shape:  A medium to large-sized tree when growing in favorable locations, the Chinkapin Oak has a straight trunk and a narrow, rounded head.

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:

The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation.  This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at

Sun Exposure:  This oak does well in Full sun.
Soil Type:  The Chinkapin Oak grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, clay, sandy, wet, well-drained, wide range of soils and is drought tolerant.
Moisture:  The Chinkapin Oak tolerates wet sites, but does best in well-drained areas that do not experience severe drought.
Growth Rate:  This tree grows at a fast growth rate.

Hardiness Zones: 4 - 7
This oak can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the zone map.