What cultivars of oaks have been bred for nut consumption?

11 years ago

I'm looking to see if there are any good varieties of oaks available through mail-order that have been bred to produce more edible acorns than what you find in the wild. I see that Oikos and St. Lawrence Nursery offer oaks that are listed as low-tannin varieties, and I was wondering what other sources there are? I'm converting my 1.5 acre yard almost entirely to edible landscaping, and an easily edible acorn would be a major plus. Thanks!

Comments (10)

  • ronzone7b
    11 years ago

    I've never encountered an oak cultivar selected for palatable nuts but I can tell you that white oaks usually contain by far less tannin than red oaks. The only exception to this rule that I have encountered is Quercus robur or English oak, the acorns of which can contain such high levels of tannin that the nutmeat actually drips the stuff. On the other hand, Quercus bicolor or Swamp White Oak contains the least tannin of all the acorns I have sampled and I have eaten them with absolutely no pretreatment and found them rather palatable. If you plan on planting an oak for nut harvest I would plant Q. bicolor. An added benefit of Q. bicolor is that it often starts producing acorns much earlier in life than most other oaks and is very tolerant to all sorts of soil and temperature conditions.

  • l_james
    11 years ago

    The Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii - is low in tanin and called "sweet".
    Its leaf resembles that of a true chestnut.

  • denninmi
    11 years ago

    Lucky, U da Man! Nuts too, not just persimmons.

    I'm sure you're right about the tannins in the oaks having a lot to do with the climate any given year. I don't know if you read any of my posts on the various discussions of Aronia, or the comments Don (Jellyman) made about them, but I found the same thing -- dramatic differences from year to year in how edible out of hand these things are. In my last two cool and overall damp years, they were far less tannic than in the hot, dry years, and were pretty much edible out of hand like any berry. In contrast, a few years back when it was hot and dry, they were horrible, even after cooking, just too astringent to be edible in any form. So, I am inclined to agree with you about the weather hypothesis.

    Now, just WHAT specific conditions yield a less or more tannic crop in any particular variety may vary from species to species.

  • Embothrium
    11 years ago

    Facciola, Cornucopia II - A Source Book of Edible Plants (1998, Kampong Publications, Vista) lists

    Quercus acutissima
    Q. acutissima 'Carruthers'
    Q. agrifolia
    Q. alba
    Q. bicolor
    Q. cerris
    Q. dentata
    Q. garryana
    Q. ilex
    Q. ilex ssp. ballota
    Q. lobata
    Q. macrocarpa*
    Q. macrocarpa 'Ashworth'
    Q. macrocarpa 'Krieder'
    Q. macrocarpa 'Sweet Idaho'
    Q. macrolepis
    Q. muehlenbergii
    Q. palustris
    Q. petraea
    Q. robur
    Q. x schuettei
    Q. stellata
    Q. suber
    Q. lyrata x Q. virginiana
    Q. x sp. (Ooti oak)

    and describes edible use of, gives sources for each.

    *"The acorns of this species are among the most palatable of all"

  • scotjute Z8
    11 years ago

    I've eaten Bur Oak acorns before. Sort of rubbery and tasteless. I will never eat another acorn unless I'm starving. Recommend actually eating some acorns before you plant oaks thinking you are going to eat the acorns if you've never tried them. I'd recommend some other sort of nut tree if you want a nut you can eat.
    That said, all my reading indicated the Chinkapin Oaks had the best tasting acorns.

  • lucky_p
    11 years ago

    I'll have to dig around to try to find it, but somewhere I've got a chart detailing nutritional analyses for a number of different oak species acorns - fat, carbohydrate, protein levels - that sort of thing.
    Seems like I recall that Chinkapin oak(Q.muehlenbergii) had the highest fat content of the white oak group.

  • groem
    11 years ago

    I am looking around for some oak for this reason, figure I would bump this and see is any new info is around.

  • gardener365
    10 years ago

    I just found some information:

    "Oak, Sweet Acorn ( Quercus x deamii )

    An extremely fast growing hybrid Oak of Quercus macrocarpa x muehlenbergii.
    Has potential to grow to 200 feet tall; 80 feet across with trunk diameter of 9 feet
    with extreme age. The foliage looks like that of Quercus prinus ( except somewhat downy below ); is up to 8 inches long and oblong with 7 to 9 lobes per side.
    Hardy from zone 4 to 9."

    Link below - about 4/5ths down the page.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Plants 4 a New Generation: The Mighty Oaks

  • aehrhardt
    10 years ago


    I'm looking for some acorn of Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii).
    I like to make a taste test as suggested.
    Who is selling same (200-1000g) Chinkapin Oak acorn to me ?