golden chinkapin Fagaceae Chrysolepis
chrysophylla (Douglas ex Hook.) Hjelmqvist symbol: CHCH7
Leaf: Alternate, simple, persistent, lanceolate to narrowly elliptical, 2 to 6 inches long, leathery, margins entire, smooth and green to yellow-green above, golden underneath with color coming from pubescence and scaliness.
Flower: Species is monoecious; both sexes borne in erect aments (catkins), male flowers are numerous, erect, elongated aments, dull yellow; odorous; female flowers are much smaller and are clustered at the base of the male flowers.
Fruit: One or 2 small triangular nuts enclosed in a sharp, spiny bur, both are light brown when mature, burs may be clustered
Twig: Slender and initially yellow but turning reddish brown with age; pith is yellow and star-shaped; terminal buds are clustered near the tip.
Bark: Initially smooth, grayish brown, and mottled with large, white areas, later becoming 1 to 2 inches thick, distinctly furrowed and ridged.
Form: Usually grows as a moderate to large broad-leaved evergreen tree (to 150 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet in diameter) with a dense, pyramidal or conical crown, but at higher elevations it may occur as a shrub.
Looks like: tanoak - California-laurel
Additional Range Information: Chrysolepis chrysophylla is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting golden chinkapin.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson