Plant Common Name
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak, Scrub Chestnut Oak
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
A small deciduous oak, dwarf chinkapin is a favorite foodsource of wildlife because of its less bitter-tasting acorns, and the brilliant orange-red fall leaves isn't a disappoint either! Native of dry, acidic outcroppings and grasslands, this species' range is from New Hampshire to Iowa and Oklahoma in the interior eastcentral United States, including the southernmost tip of Ontario. It sometimes spreads via rhizomes (underground stems) to form small thickets. The gray bark is thin, flaky and papery.
The small oval leaves are glossy green above and lighter green and lightly hairy on undersides. Leaf edges have three to eight pairs of short rounded teeth. Male flowers appear in spring on the bare branches as pendent clusters (catkins), following shortly thereafter by small reddish female flowers at the bases of the newly emerging leaves. Wind pollinated, this oak starts bearing its light brown fruits (acorns) at an early age and consistently each year. Its acorns are a delicacy for a wide array of song and game birds, bears, deer and various large rodents. In autumn the foliage attains an outstanding orange-red display.
Grow dwarf chinkapin oak in full sun to partial shade in a well-draining, fertile and deep soil that is gritty and not alkaline. Sometimes more of a shrub than a small tree, it can be used as a windbreak barrier, or naturalistic accent in a mixed shrub border. It is a must-have for properties wishing to sustain populations of wild turkeys, bear, deer and raccoons.
AHS Heat Zone
8 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 8
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
15'-20' / 4.6m - 6.1m
12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m
North America, United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Canada