TREES & Plants

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin oak is native to the Midwest, where it is often found as a specimen planting or grouping tree for parks and large areas.  Chinkapin oaks, one of the best oaks for alkaline soils, are found on dry, limestone outcrops in the wild. Lustrous dark yellow-green foliage varies from yellow to orange-brown to brown in the fall.    

Botanical name: 
Quercus muehlenbergii
All Common Names: 
Chinkapin Oak, Chinquapin Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak
Family (English): 
Beech, Oak
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Dry sites
  • Alkaline soil
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Yellow
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

This tree is found in the wild on dry, limestone outcrops and is one of the best oaks for alkaline soils.

Disease, pests, and problems


Disease, pest, and problem resistance


Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: UPL


Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife


Bark color and texture 


Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture


  • Color: dark, yellow-green
  • Fall Color: yellow to orange-brown to brown

Flower arrangement, shape, and size


Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions


Cultivars and their differences