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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 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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
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.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: Coastal areas from s. WA to c. CA; also local in c. Sierras
Native Habitat: Wooded slopes & dry, fairy open sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Drier soils.


Description: 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 Reference

Webref 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 resources

USDA: 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


Record Modified: 2023-04-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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