I’m still checking out the tree-names in our area. Last week, it was the Blackjack Oak, and today it’s the Chestnut Oak. First off, the Chestnut Oak is not to be confused with the actual Chestnut tree, which is a species of birch tree. Surprisingly, our country used to be practically covered with Chestnut trees until someone brought over a few European Chestnuts and planted them on Long Island, N.Y. Those trees introduced a fungus that wiped out all of the Chestnut trees in North America. Wow! Must have been a really potent fungus!
At any rate, Chestnut Oaks produce acorns, just like the other oak trees, and after digging around a bit, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any actual Chestnut Oaks in our neighborhood because they tend to grow in Northern hardwood forests in rocky soils. That doesn’t sound much like the habitat in The Woodlands, does it?
What we could have around here though is the Swamp Chestnut Oak, which, as the name implies, grows in swampy areas. I’ve got a little map that shows the distribution of this tree, and it just barely makes it into Texas.
Here are some images of the tree. You may be completely familiar with it, but I’m going to have to wait until spring to look for the sawtooth leaves and make a guess that what I’m looking at is a Swamp Chestnut Oak.