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Chinquapin Castanea pumila

Phonetic Spelling
kas-tah-NAY-ah POO-mil-ah
Description

Castanea pumila, commonly called chinkapin, is a monoecious small tree or large shrub that grows to be 2 to 5 m tall. The twigs are densely hairy (tomentose) when young, becoming shiny brown with densely reddish-hairy buds.

Chinkapin nuts are palatable to humans as well as wildlife. They have a sweet flavor and are often preferred over the fruit of the American chestnut.

Its wood is light, hard, close-grained, and strong. It is used for fence posts and fuel although it is not timbered because of its small stature and scattered occurrence.

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

   Blooms:  Summer              Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:   This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Its nuts are eaten by woodpeckers, bluejays, small mammals, wild turkeys, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Chinkapin is moderately resistant to chestnut blight, but fewer trees are reported each year due to the inhibitory effects of the fungus.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#nuts#fire#medium flammability#NC native#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#nuts#fire#medium flammability#NC native#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Castanea
    Species:
    pumila
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. U.S.A
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Chinkapin nuts are palatable to humans as well as wildlife. They have a sweet flavor and are often preferred over the fruit of the American chestnut. The fruit is a spiny bur that houses a single nut. Male flowers appear in May and June, female flowers later in the season. Its fruits mature in autumn and winter. Slender spikes of strong scented staminate flowers; bur with a single, dark brown sweet nut
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The Chinkapins male flowers are borne in the leaf axils (the upper angle between a leaf stalk or branch and the stem or trunk from which it is growing), elongated, yellow to white, clustered, and have a strong odor. The female flowers are rounder with a diameter up to 1 inch.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves of the Chinkapin are alternate, simple, short-stemmed, prominently veined, oblong with fine pointed teeth or bristles, 3 to 5 inches long, and tomentose (covered with densely matted woolly hairs) on the lower surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    densely hairy (tomentose) when young, becoming shiny brown with densely reddish-hairy buds