Quercus michauxii, the swamp chestnut oak, is a species of oak in the white oak section Quercus section Quercus in the beech family. It is native to bottomlands and wetlands in the southeastern and midwestern United States, in coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, inland primarily in the Mississippi–Ohio Valley as far as Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
Quercus michauxii, commonly called swamp chestnut oak, is native to silty floodplains, swampy areas, rich sandy lowland woods and along streams primarily in coastal plain areas from New Jersey to northern Florida west to eastern Texas and up the Mississippi River Valley to southeastern Missouri and the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana where its large unlobed chestnut-like leaves adorn bottomlands. The tree was first described by French naturalist Francois Andre Michaux (1770-1855). It is a medium to large deciduous oak (part of the white oak group) with a tight, narrow, rounded crown. It typically grows to 40-60' (infrequently to 100') tall. Obovate leaves (to 11" long) have large rounded teeth and wavy margins. Leaves are shiny green above but grayish-pubescent beneath. Leaves are similar to those of chestnut oak (Q. montana), except for the hairy undersides. Leaves turn dark red in fall. Ornamentally insignificant flowers bloom in April-May (male in slender yellow catkins to 2-4" long and female in very short few-flowered reddish spikes). Flowers are followed by acorns (each to 1" long) which ripen in September-October. From 1/3 to 1/2 of each nut is covered by a cup with hairy, gray to light brown scales. These acorns are sweet-tasting and can be eaten directly from the tree (acorns on most oaks need to be boiled first to remove tannic acid). Acorns are consumed by a number of different mammals and birds, including deer, turkey, squirrels and woodpeckers. Acorns are also consumed by livestock including cows, hence the additional common name of cow oak.