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

 Native Plant Database

Castanea pumila

Allegheny chinquapin, Allegheny chinkapin, Chinquapin, Chinkapin

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Castanea pumila (Allegheny chinquapin)
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: 2015-11-12