The tree is at least 250 years old - at least 50 years older than the town of Luray itself, which was chartered in 1812, as you can read on the sign, which also describes the size of the tree. From the vantage point of this sign on the trail, you can just see the tree above. It is more or less in the center of this photo, not appearing as the tallest of the trees, but more in the background - the one set back from the edge, with the branches that spread out more, forming the trademark crown of this species.
- Chinkapin oak is generally found on well-drained upland soils derived from limestone or where limestone outcrops occur. Occasionally it is found on well-drained limestone soils along streams.
- The Chinkapin Oak is especially known for its sweet acorns. The acorns are sweet and palatable. Indeed, the nuts contained inside of the thin shell are among the sweetest of any oak; they taste excellent even when eaten raw. These acorns provide an excellent source of food for both wildlife and people. The acorns are eaten by squirrels, mice, voles, chipmunks, deer, turkey, and other birds.
- Like the other members of the white oak family, the wood of the Chinkapin oak is a durable hardwood prized for many types of construction.
Most of the oaks on the Hawksbill Cabin property are white oaks, and I am pretty sure we likely have one or two of these somewhere in the area - maybe on the back lots along the ridge. I'll check it out, and when I do, maybe I'll test the acorns.