Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) in the White Oak family
Chinquapin Oak is also spelled Chinkapin Oak, and is also known as Yellow Oak or Yellow Chestnut Oak. The growth habit of Chinquapin Oak is sometimes upright oval and symmetrical through middle age, but is more often spreading in both middle age and at advanced maturity. It grows to 60 feet tall by 80 feet wide when found in the open, often with wide-spreading lower branches of great diameter. The light gray or silvery-white bark of this tree resembles that of the White Oak. Its leaves may in some cases be almost lance-shaped and with their crenations pointing forward, somewhat resembling the flint arrows of Native Americans. Fall color is usually chartreuse to yellow-brown, but leaf drop is usually complete in late autumn. Chinquapin Oak is monoecious, having pollen-bearing catkins in mid-spring (upper left) that fertilize the inconspicuous female flowers on the same tree. Since it is a member of the White Oak group, the fruits only take a single season to develop. Its acorns are relatively small (upper right), but the tree is more easily identified in winter by its fallen acorn caps on the ground (and even some caps retained on the twigs), as they are small but wide, with a smooth inner lining that looks like a shiny bowl. Reportedly the acorns are "sweeter" than those of any other Oak, you’ll have to check with your squirrels.