Castanea pumila (L.) Mill.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: Allegheny chinquapin
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple; elliptic to lance-elliptic, to ca. 5” long; membranous stipules present; margins coarsely serrate with remotely spaced teeth; blades usually densely pubescent below, velvety to touch (sometimes glabrous)
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants monoecious; inflorescence an erect catkin born in axils of proximal and medial leaves, most flowers in a given inflorescence are staminate, with a few pistillate flowers prioximally; flowers fragrant; flowering spring and early summer
  • FRUIT: ovoid nut about 0.75” long, enclosed in a dense prickly bur (cupule); fruit maturing in fall
  • TWIGS: slender, gray, glabrous when old, woolly pubescent when young, terminal bud usually absent, lateral buds reddish & hairy; pith 5-angled
  • BARK: shallow furrows, flattened plates; light reddish brown
  • FORM: clonal shrub on sites experiencing frequent fires, to a small tree to 50’ tall; this species is top-killed by chestnut blight so trees tend to be re-sprouted shoots from base
  • HABITAT: upland pine and mixed pine-hardwood woodlands and forests, from dry-mesic sandy loams to subxeric loamy sands
  • RANGE: southeastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: usually not large enough for commercial harvest; when harvested wood is used for posts, railroad ties, and fuel; nuts are edible
  • WILDLIFE: good hard mast species; fruits eaten by deer, squirrels, chipmunks, opposums, bluejays, woodpeckers and other birds; deer will browse foliage
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. elliptic leaves with distinct, though remotely spaced, teeth along margins; lateral veins conspicuous on leaf undersurface
    2. fruit is a nut enclosed by a prickly bur