Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Castanea pumila

Chinkapin, Allegheny chinquapin, Allegheny-chinkapin, Chinquapin

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Castanea pumila (Chinkapin)
Cressler, Alan
Tree or large, thicket-forming shrub to 30 ft. Single- or multi-trunked with horizontal lower branches, ascending in upper crown. Glossy, dark green, toothed leaves turn yellowish or purple in fall. Flower is a long, pencil-like, pale yellow spike and the fruit is a nut enclosed in a prickly, bur-like husk.

Captain John Smith published the first record of this nut in 1612: They [Native Americans] have a small fruit growing on little trees, husked like a Chestnut, but the fruit most like a very small acorne. This they call Checkinquamins, which they esteem a great daintie.

Image Gallery:

9 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , IN , KY , LA , MD , MA , MS , MO , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: S. NJ to GA, w. to s.e. OK & e. TX
Native Habitat: Sandy, open, dry woods & thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Sandy, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam
Conditions Comments: Produces a sweet nut. Susceptible to chestnut blight.


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Aromatic
Use Wildlife: Seeds are a favorite food of deer, squirrels, and other animals. Nectar-insects, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds
Use Food: The edible nuts were a favorite of indigenous people.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Castanea pumila is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Orange-tipped oakworm moth
(Anisota senatoria)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-08-12