cow oak
Quercus michauxii Nutt.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAMES:  basket oak, swamp chestnut oak
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple; to ca. 9” long x 6” wide, blades obovate, dark green and glabrous above, dull green to gray-glaucous and pubescent below; lateral leaf veins conspicuous and parallel to each other; blade margins wavy to coarsely ascending-toothed, the tips rounded to obtuse
  • FLOWER:  unisexual, plants monoecious, male flowers in catkins, female flowers inconspicuous, born singly or in short few-flowered axillary spikes
  • FRUIT: large acorn to ca. 1.5” long and 1.2” wide, widest near base, ovoid to ellipsoid in outline; cupule bowl-shaped, embracing 1/3-1/2 of the acorn, scales loose and overlapping, noticeably humped on their backs giving the cupules a knobby texture
  • TWIGS: stout, brown, aging gray; terminal buds 1/4” long, vaguely and bluntly longitudinally angled, pointed, scales brown, their surfaces pubescent with grayish hairs, sometimes apically fringed with hairs
  • BARK: thick, light gray, shaggy, furrowed and broken into long narrow plates that flake off exposing brownish gray inner bark
  • FORM: medium to large tree
  • HABITAT: mesic forests, including ridges in bottomland hardwoods, small steam forest, mixed hardwood-loblolly pine forest, and hardwood slope forest
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: In the "Western Gulf Coast Subregion" of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. In the remainder of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Facultative Wetland (FACW): Usually occurs in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands
  • RANGE: southeastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES:high quality wood, used for flooring, cabinetry, furniture, boatbuilding, cooperage, veneer, and baskets (wood splits easily into strips, hence the name basket oak)
  • WILDLIFE excellent quality mast; acorns “sweet” enough for humans to eat
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. light gray flaky/platy bark
    2. large unlobed obovate leaf with crenate to coarsely serrate margins
    3. large acorns with deep bowl-shaped cupules