How to Identify Swamp Chestnut Oak Trees

The swamp chestnut oak tree is a sturdy hardwood. image by All images and illustrations by Daniel Ray


The swamp chestnut oak is a member of the beech family. This oak is also known as the "cow oak" because its acorns are sweet, and cows like them (see Reference 1). It is sometimes called the "basket oak" because the splintered wood was favored for making strong baskets (see Reference 1). Because of the large number of oaks, a field guide should be used to help identify this tree.

How to Identify Swamp Chestnut Oak Trees

Step 1

Look for a large tree that is 60 to 80 feet tall with a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are 4 to 9 inches long and similar to a chestnut. Each leaf has 10 to 14 rounded teeth on each side.

Step 2

Locating an acorn will help identify this tree. Each acorn is 1 to 1-1/4 inches long and egg-shaped. The deep, thick cup encloses one-third or more of the acorn.

Step 3

Habitats include wet bottom lands and moist floodplains. Areas around streams are a preferred habitat.

Step 4

Look for swamp chestnut oaks in the eastern United States. They range from north Florida to New Jersey and west to east Texas to south Illinois.

Things You'll Need

  • Field guide
  • Ruler or tape measure


  • The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees; Elbert L. Little; 1980

Who Can Help

  • Ohio Trees - Swamp Chestnut Oak
Keywords: swamp chestnut oak, identify swamp chestnut, swamp oak tree

About this Author

Daniel Ray has been writing for over 15 years. He has been published in "Florida Sportsman" magazine. He holds an FAA airframe and powerplant license and FCC radiotelephone license, and is also a licensed private pilot. He attended the University of South Florida.

Photo by: All images and illustrations by Daniel Ray