rock oak

Quercus montana Willdenow

Chestnut oak gets its name from its chestnut-like leaves. It is found principally on dry, rocky ridges and hillsides, and is very common on such soils in the lower Hudson Valley. The wood is similar though somewhat inferior to white oak and is used generally for ties, posts, and rough construction. The lumber is too hard for interior finish.

Bark - on young branches smooth, thin, yellowish brown in color; with age becoming dark brown to black in color, deeply furrowed into long, more or less continuous thick, rough ridges which are sharp and angular. At the bottom of the furrow, the bark may be reddish brown in color. The thick bark of mature trees is an important source of tannin.

Twigs - stout, light orange or reddish brown in color.

Winter buds - clustered at ends of twigs, sharp-pointed, light yellowish brown in color, 1/4 inch long.

Leaves - simple, alternate, thick, yellowish green in color above, somewhat paler beneath, 5 to 9 inches long, coarsely toothed as in chestnut, but teeth rounded and without bristle tips.

Fruit - an acorn, borne singly or in pairs on short stalks, maturing in September of the first season, starts sprouting soon after falling; one of the larger of our native acorns. Nut - shiny, light chestnut brown in color, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, 1/3 enclosed in the cup. Meat - white, somewhat bitter.

Distinguishing features - orange streak between ridges of bark; round teeth or scallops on leaf margin; long slim acorn.

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