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Published In: The Gardeners Dictionary: eighth edition no. 2. 1768. (Gard. Dict. (ed. 8)) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/18/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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3. Castanea pumila (L.) Mill. (chinquapin)

Pl. 413 d–g; Map 1837

Plants shrubs or trees to 20 m tall (mostly much shorter now). Bark gray to brown, smooth to deeply furrowed. Twigs dark brown or grayish, with inconspicuous, sessile glands and/or short gland-tipped hairs. Buds with the outer pair of scales dark purple, glabrous or hairy. Leaves with the petiole 2–19 mm long, with inconspicuous glands or short glandular hairs, sometimes also variously longer-hairy. Stipules lanceolate, shed early. Leaf blades 7.5–21.0 cm long, 3–9 cm wide, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate or narrowly obovate, rounded, broadly angled, or rarely narrowly angled at the base, broadly to sharply angled or short-tapered at the tip, the marginal teeth 1–9 mm long, broadly to slenderly tapered or short-tapered above a triangular base, straight or curved, the secondary veins 11–23 on each side of the midvein, both surfaces with the main veins with inconspicuous glands or short glandular hairs, the undersurface also sparsely to densely hairy between the veins. Cupules 2–13 per spike, 1–2 cm wide at fruiting (excluding the spines), splitting into 2 valves, the spines 5–13 mm long. Nut 1 per cupule, 7–20 mm long, more or less circular in cross-section. 2n=24. May–June.

Uncommon in southernmost Missouri (eastern U.S. west to Missouri and Texas). Mesic to dry upland forests; fencerows and roadsides; often on acidic substrates.

This species is less susceptible to chestnut blight than is C. dentata. The blight develops more slowly, and infected stems live much longer before dying, so they are able to set seed. The characteristic growth form of the species has changed, however; due to the repeated death and replacement of the trunks. The tall, single-trunked trees present before the blight have been replaced by low, multitrunked small trees or shrubs. Large chestnut logs can still be found associated with living colonies of smaller trees in some parts of the Ozarks.

Castanea pumila is a puzzling and problematic species that has been split into six or more species by some authors (G. P. Johnson, 1988). In the Ozarks, there are two taxa that are generally well defined, which are treated as varieties in the present work. This is primarily because other races elsewhere in the range of the species intergrade with the Ozark race of var. pumila, and some of these combine characters of the Ozark race of var. pumila with characters of var. ozarkensis (larger, more tapered leaves, larger cupules, and sparser pubescence). As noted under var. pumila, the key and descriptions below hold only for Ozark material. In the literature, our two varieties are said to differ in twig indumentum (pubescent in var. pumila, glabrous in var. ozarkensis), but this character does not hold up in Missouri and Arkansas populations.

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