Chestnut Oak

Quercus montana


Other Names:
Mountain Oak, Rock Oak, Tanbark Oak, Basket Oak

The Chestnut Oak is a native tree found in most of Virginia. It is a preferred host species for gypsy moths, and it also attracts cankerworms, tent caterpillars, beetles, timberworms, carpenterworms, and beetles. Because it attracts a lot of caterpillars of moths and butterflies, many birds forage in it. Small birds and mammals, as well as insects such as bees, use Chestnut Oak cavities for nesting. The acorns are a valuable food source for squirrels, chipmunks, and other small mammals, but Chestnut Oaks tend not to produce many good acorn crops. The trees are often somewhat twisted, which makes them less valuable as a source of timber. When on mountains, Chestnut Oaks tend not to grow very large, but in more favorable habitats, they can grow to be more than 130 feet tall. They can be an important canopy species in oak-heath forests, which are typically found at high elevations.

Identification Tools

Missouri Botanical Garden iNaturalist Go Botany


North America Virginia

Chestnut Oak
Chestnut Oak branches

Chestnut Oak
Chestnut Oak leaves

Chestnut Oak
The distinctive leaves of a Chestnut Oak, showing the scalloped edges

Chestnut Oak
Dry Chestnut Oak leaves

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