Alleghany chinkapin Fagaceae Castanea
pumila (L.) Mill. symbol: CAPU9
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to lanceolate, 3 to 6 inches long, pinnately veined, coarsely toothed margin, green above and much lighter and fuzzy below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male flowers are small and pale yellow, borne on semi-upright catkins 4 to 6 inches long; female flowers are borne on the base of some of the same catkins, 1/8 inch long, appear in late spring.
Fruit: Small, bur covered with sharp spines, 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, often the burs occur in clusters on stems; each bur contains a single, shiny chestnut brown, ovoid nut. Nuts are edible and quite sweet when mature in the fall.
Twig: Slender to moderate, reddish brown, often with gray fuzz; buds are also gray-brown and fuzzy, covered with 2 to 3 visible bud scales.
Bark: Light, reddish brown in color, shallowly furrowed with scaly plates on large stems.
Form: A large shrub or small tree up to 25 feet tall that can form dense thickets when growing in bright sunshine.
Looks like: American chestnut - Chinese chestnut - sawtooth oak - American beech
Additional Range Information: Castanea pumila is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Alleghany chinkapin.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
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