(formerly Castanopis chrysophylla) Fagaceae
Golden or Giant Chinkapin or Chinquapin
- Broadleaf evergreen shrub or tree, sometimes to a height of 150 ft (45 m), usually much smaller, the shrub form is
sometimes designated as C. chrysophylla var. minor (but see below). Bark is thick and furrowed;
twigs scurfy with small golden-yellow scales. Leaves alternate, simple, 5-13 cm long and 1.5-4 cm
wide, laceolate to oblong, tapering at both ends, dark green above, golden-brown to pale yellow below.
Flowers white with a strong odor, in erect or spreading clusters, with male flowers in 3's, each with
6-15 stamens, female flowers 1-3 in a cup of scales. Fruit a spiny bur, matures in the second year,
2.5-4 cm, with 1-3 nuts (8-12 mm).
- Sun to light shade, best on well-drained soil, slow growing. Adapted to dry summers. Transplants with difficulty.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 Native along the Pacific Coast, from southwest Washington south in the
Coast Range to central California, also in the Cascades and in the Sierra Nevada of central California.
It develops a number of shrubby ecotypes which intergrade with tree-like growth forms [Keeler-Wolf,
T., Madrono. 35(4):285-308(1988)]. These differences in form are thought to reflect site conditions
rather than genetic differences [Roof, J. B., Four Seasons 3(1):16-19 1969) and 3(2);15-19(1970)].
Because of this, the shrubby form (var. minor), commonly known as the shrub chinquapin, is no longer recognized
as a separate entity [Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie].
- A similar species is Chrysolepis sempervirens, Sierra Chinkapin, a shrub found in the middle
elevations of California's Sierra Nevada.
- Chrysolepis: chryso, gold, and lepis, scale. chrysophylla:
chryso, gold, phylla, foliage or leaves, a reference to the "golden" underside of the leaves.
- Portland, Oregon: Hoyt Arboretum
- Corvallis: on the north side of Harrison Ave. just west of 14th St.