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Chrysolepis chrysophylla - (Douglas. ex Hook.)Hjelmq.

Common Name Golden Chinquapin, Giant chinquapin
Family Fagaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forested slopes near the coast in California[71]. Found in many soil types ranging from dry and rocky to deep rich soils[229].
Range South-western N. America - Washington to Oregon and California.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Chrysolepis chrysophylla Golden Chinquapin, Giant chinquapin

Chrysolepis chrysophylla Golden Chinquapin, Giant chinquapin


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Chrysolepis chrysophylla is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft 7in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower in July. 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 Wind, midges.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.


Castanea chrysophylla. Castanopsis chrysophylla.


Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw or cooked[22, 46]. Very sweet and much appreciated[63, 71, 82, 105, 183]. The seed can also be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in soups, mixed with cereals when making bread etc[257]. The seed is about 1cm long and has a hard shell[183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

Other Uses


Wood - fine-grained, light, soft, not strong. Occasionally used for making ploughs and other agricultural implements, and also as a fuel[46, 61, 82, 229].

Cultivation details

Requires a lime-free soil[1]. Prefers a sheltered semi-shaded position and a light deep moist soil[1, 11]. A very ornamental tree[183], it is slow to moderate growing and can live 400 - 500 years in the wild[229]. One report says that this species only succeeds in Oceanic and Mediterranean climates[200]. This species has a very wide natural range in N. America, seeds should be tried from various provenances to find more suitable selections for Britain[11]. Another report says that the plant is only found in a small area of California and Oregon, but that it grows on a wide range of soil types[229]. There are trees 16 metres tall in Surrey and Buckinghamshire[11], it also fruits in Cornwall[59] and fruits well in addition to self-sowing at Edinburgh botanical gardens[11]. Flowers are produced on the current years growth, the seed taking two summers to mature[229]. The catkins have an unpleasant hawthorn-like smell to attract midges for their pollination[245]. This species resists chestnut blight[200].


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Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe, the seed must be protected from mice etc[200]. The seed has a short viability and should not be allowed to dry out. If stored overwinter it should be kept cool and moist. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors.

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

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
Chrysolepis sempervirensDwarf Golden Chinquapin, Bush chinquapin20
Quercus chrysolepisLive Oak, Canyon live oak22


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(Douglas. ex Hook.)Hjelmq.

Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Xiao Di Guan   Wed Sep 29 00:16:46 2004

Absolutely fantastic! I got all the information I needed for my project in a snap from this web page!

Dave Mrus   Fri May 16 2008

Has anyone seen cutleaf chinkapins or the cut-leaf intermedius forms outside the Santa Cruz Mountains of the San Francisco Bay area of California ?

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Subject : Chrysolepis chrysophylla  
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