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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Swamp Chestnut Oak

Quercus michauxii
Family: Fagaceae

Natural History

Leaves of swamp chestnut oak | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida

Swamp chestnut oak, also called basket or cow oak, is a handsome member of the white oak group known for its large, fuzzy, coarsely-toothed leaves and big acorns, some of the largest in Florida.

White-tailed deer, turkey, squirrels, and hogs eat the acorns. Cows also eat the acorns, as the common name 'cow oak' suggests.

Like many oaks, swamp chestnut makes a good shade tree with its broad, spreading branches and large leaves.

The light brown wood is hard, strong, and durable and is used for flooring, veneer, furniture, farming tools, posts, and barrels. It is has also been used to make baskets, which is where another of its common names comes from. The quality of the wood is similar to white oak but swamp chestnut oak is not as widespread or abundant as white oak.

Swamp chestnut oaks are found from New Jersey to Florida and throughout the Mississippi River Valley, Illinois, and Ohio.

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