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Castanea pumila - (L.)Mill.

Common Name Chinquapin, Ozark chinkapin
Family Fagaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry sandy ridges and rich hillsides where it forms thickets, also in woods and on the borders of swamps[43, 82].
Range Eastern N. America - New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Florida, Missouri and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Castanea pumila Chinquapin, Ozark chinkapin


William S. Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Castanea pumila Chinquapin, Ozark chinkapin
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 616.

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Castanea pumila is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Fagus pumila.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw or cooked[2, 61, 105]. Sweet with a nice nutty flavour[46, 82, 183], it is very acceptable raw and has a superior flavour to sweet chestnuts (C. sativa)[142, 161, K]. When baked it becomes even sweeter and develops a floury texture, it makes an excellent potato or cereal substitute[K].The seed is quite small, about 2cm thich[270], which is about half the size of C. dentata[183]. It is sold in local markets in America[82]. The seed husks only contain one (rarely two) seed[235]. The seed contains 45% starch and 2.5% protein[213].

Medicinal Uses

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Antiperiodic  Astringent  Tonic

The leaves contain tannin and are antiperiodic, astringent and tonic[46, 61, 213]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an external wash for the feverish condition common to colds[213, 257].

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Other Uses

Tannin  Wood

The bark, leaves, wood and seed husks all contain tannin. Wood - coarse-grained, hard, strong, light, durable, easy to split. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial use, but it is occasionally used for fence posts, fuel etc[46, 61, 227, 229].

Cultivation details

Prefers a good well-drained slightly acid loam but succeeds in dry soils[1, 11, 200]. Once established, it is very drought tolerant[1, 11, 200]. Very tolerant of highly acid, infertile dry sands[200]. Averse to calcareous soils but succeeds on harder limestones[11, 200]. This species is an excellent soil-enriching understorey in pine forests[200], growing and fruiting well so long as the canopy of pines is fairly light. Although it is very winter-hardy, this species only really thrives in areas with hot summers[200]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. Plants can spread widely by means of underground suckers[11]. Flowers are produced on wood of the current year's growth[229]. Plants are fairly self-sterile[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Fruits are produced in 2 - 3 years from seed[117]. One report says that plants never fruit in Britain[11], but a 2 metre tall plant at Wisley fruits most years[K]. Trees on our Cornish trial grounds produced a few female flowers when 1 metre tall and 4 years old[K]. This species is occasionally cultivated for its edible seed in N. America, there are some named varieties[183]. The plants produce seeds abundantly in the wild[183]. The sub-species C. pumila ashei. Sudw. (Zone 7) is a coastal form, found from Virginia to Texas[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 5. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is multistemmed with multiple stems from the crown [1-2].

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Propagation

Seed - where possible sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in a seed bed outdoors[78]. The seed must be protected from mice and squirrels. The seed has a short viability and must not be allowed to become dry. It can be stored in a cool place, such as the salad compartment of a fridge, for a few months if it is kept moist, but check regularly for signs of germination. The seed should germinate in late winter or early spring. If sown in an outdoor seedbed, the plants can be left in situ for 1 - 2 years before planting them out in their permanent positions. If grown in pots, the plants can be put out into their permanent positions in the summer or autumn, making sure to give them some protection from the cold in their first winter[K]. Division of suckers in winter[200]. They can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Australia, North America, Ukraine, USA*,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Castanea alnifoliaBush Chinkapin30
Castanea crenataJapanese Chestnut30
Castanea dentataAmerican Sweet Chestnut31
Castanea henryi 30
Castanea mollissimaChinese Chestnut32
Castanea ozarkensisOzark Chinkapin30
Castanea pumila asheiChinquapin41
Castanea sativaSweet Chestnut, European chestnut52
Castanea seguiniiChinese Chinquapin30
Castanea speciesChestnut Hybrids42
Castanea x neglectaChinknut30

 

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Author

(L.)Mill.

Botanical References

1143200

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