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Chestnut Oak

Quercus montana


The chestnut oak, commonly called mountain oak, will sometimes drop heavy crops of acorns early in the season. Unlike other white oaks, it is not reported to be preferred by deer, and often the acorns will sprout or rot on the ground. However, when no other acorns are available, they may be a main food source for deer. Chestnut oak is not found in bottomlands, and most commonly is found on tops of ridges at higher elevations.


Eastern US in areas with steep ridge country or mountains.

Distribution Map


Rocky ridges or mountainsides, usually on the upper portion of ridges in hill country. Not found in bottomlands.


Oblong, widest at 2/3 to the apex, with a sawtooth or wavy margin. No lobes. Green on top and pale, whitish green underneath.

Chestnut Oak


Light gray-brown to dark gray. Deeply furrowed with thick ridges. Does not resemble bark of any other white oak.

Chestnut Oak


Large, oblong (1.5-2.5 inches long) with a cap covering about 1/3 of the nut. Shiny brown when ripe.

Chestnut Oak


Look-alike oaks:

Swamp Chestnut Oak - leaves are very similar, but bark and habitat are entirely different. Swamp chestnut oak is found in bottomlands or swampy plains. Acorns of swamp chestnut oak are large, but not as narrow as those of chestnut oak. Swamp chestnut oak acorns are also highly preferred by deer, while chestnut oak acorns are generally ignored if other acorns are present.

Chinkapin Oak - leaves are similar, but bark and acorns are entirely different. Chinkapin oak prefers soil with high limestone content, and the bark is pale gray and flaky. Chinkapin acorns are much smaller and darker in color than those of chestnut oak. They are highly preferred by deer and turkey, while chestnut oak acorns are generally ignored if other acorns are present.

Sawtooth Oak - leaves have a similar sawtooth margin, but those of sawtooth oak are narrower and have bristle tips on each tooth. Bark is brownish and furrowed in both trees, but chestnut oak bark is more blocky and gray in appearance. Acorns of sawtooth oak have large, shaggy caps unlike those of chestnut oak.

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