The Quercus Prinus
is commonly known as Chestnut Oak
, Rock Chestnut Oak
, Rock Oak
, as well as Tanbark Oak< Go Back
Chestnut oak occurs primarily in the Appalachian Mountains and adjacent
hill country. Chestnut oak is distributed from southwestern Maine west
through New York to extreme southern Ontario and extreme southeastern
Michigan, south through southern Indiana and extreme southern Illinois
to extreme northeastern Mississippi, east through northern Alabama to
Georgia, and north along the Piedmont to Delaware. Chestnut oak is rare
on the Southeastern Coastal Plain, but occurs along the coast in
Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and in the New England states [38
The currently accepted scientific name of chestnut oak is Quercus prinus
]. It has been placed within the subgenus Lepidobalanus, or
white oak group [28
]. In the past, Quercus prinus was applied to swamp
chestnut oak (Q. michauxii) and Q. montana was applied to chestnut oak.
Quercus prinus was restored to chestnut oak by Fernald in 1950 [21
Chestnut oak naturally hybridizes with the following species [38
x Q. alba (white oak): Q. X saulii Schneid.
x Q. bicolor (swamp white oak)
x Q. robur (English oak): Q. X sargentii Rehd.
x Q. stellata (post oak): Q. X bernardiensis W. Wolf
Chestnut oak is an important species of eastern upland deciduous and
coniferous forests and may occur in pure stands . It constitutes an
important component of the subcanopy and canopy layers of Table Mountain
pine (Pinus pungens) forests . Chestnut oak codominates with
eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) on particularly steep east-facing
slopes in the Hudson River Valley in New York .
Because of the high mortality of American chestnut (Castanea dentata)
caused by the chestnut blight fungus (Endothia parasitica) introduced
from Asia in the early 1900's, the former Appalachian oak (Quercus
spp.)-American chestnut forest is now dominated by chestnut oak, white
oak, and northern red oak (Q. rubra) [29,33,49,79]. Keever 
recommends that former oak-American chestnut forests be named chestnut
The following published classifications list chestnut oak as dominant
Deciduous Forest 
Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains 
The Natural Communities of South Carolina 
Eastern Deciduous Forest 
Forest Vegetation of the Lower Alabama Piedmont 
The Natural Forests of Maryland: an explanation of the vegetation map
of Maryland 
< Go Back
Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Carey, Jennifer H. 1992. Quercus prinus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.