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Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla
Chrysolepis chrysophylla (Douglas ex Hook.) Hjelmqvist var. chrysophylla
Giant Chinquapin, Giant Chinkapin
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
Synonym(s): Castanopsis chrysophylla
USDA Symbol: CHCHC4
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A 45-140 ft. tree, the trunk of giant chinkapin attains a 3 ft. diameter with heavily furrowed bark and stout spreading branches. The overall habit is dense and bushy. Thick, leathery, lance-shaped leaves are dark green on top, olive-yellow underneath, and evergreen. Creamy white spikes of flowers contrast well with the dark green foliage. Burs are chestnut-like. Seeds are hard-shelled with a sweet kernel.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 140 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: CA , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Coastal areas from s. WA to c. CA; also local in c. Sierras
Native Habitat: Wooded slopes & dry, fairy open sites
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Drier soils.
PropagationDescription: Propagation by seed is more reliable than by vegetative means.
Seed Collection: Nuts mature in the fall of the second year. After being spread out and dried, the burred fruits may open spontaneously. Otherwise spread the burs between thick canvas sheets and trample.
Seed Treatment: Cold stratification does not improve germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-04
Research By: TWC Staff