Ozark Chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis)
trees might be mistaken for Chinquapin oak (Quercus mujlenbergii). Unlike
Ozark Chinquapin the Chinquapin oak have the bluish green leaves, teeth on
the leaves are rounded, buds are clustered at the apex of the stem, and
the big indicator it IS NOT an Ozark Chinquapin is the bowl-shaped cap on
the acorn nut. The bark on the Chinquapin oak is also flat, not deeply
furrowed like the bark on mature Ozark Chinquapin trees.
Drawings by A.J. Hendershott
Chinquapin Oak Leaf Ozark Chinquapin Leaf
Another tree it might be mistaken for
is the Alleghany Chinquapin (Castanea pumila) which usually has smaller
leaves of less than 6 inches, shallower teeth, and a smaller spiny seedpod
usually less than 1 inch in diameter. Nuts size usually around 1/2 inch.
Allegheny Chinquapin will grow in sandy lowland conditions, often near
waters edge, and sometimes occurring in thickets. They usually do not
attain heights over 30 feet and tree diameters are usually less than 4-5
inches. Alleghany Chinquapins are rare in the Ozark Plateau.
Deeply furrowed bark with long
flattened ridges is common on older trees.
Carl standing in front of sprouts
growing up from a stump where once an Ozark Chinquapin tree stood before
the chestnut blight killed the tree. Notice how the leaves still cling to
the sprouts through the winter.
Sprouts coming up off a diseased stump. Note the smooth bark on
Ozark Chinquapin trees
are often found in the form of stumps with sprouts coming up from it.
Stump sprouts grow from larger trees that were killed by the chestnut
blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). These sprouts will attain heights up to
30 feet with a diameter of up to 9 inches under ideal conditions. The wood
on young trees and sprouts under 4-5 inches diameter is a rich gray brown
to light gray, with smooth bark. After the tree attains a size greater
than 6 or 7 inches it becomes furrowed into long flat ridges or plates and
is more pronounced on older trees with deeper furrowing. Historical
records list trunk diameters of 2-3 feet and heights to 65 feet.
Leaves on Ozark
Chinquapin trees are deciduous, 5-9 inches in length, up to 2 inches wide,
simple, alternate, elliptical, sharp coarsely toothed, green to
yellow-green and hairless on top.
The bottom side of the
leaves is paler, has a downy appearance, and covered (sometimes thinly)
with tiny star-shaped cream colored hairs. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Often leaves of stump sprouts will stay on the sprouts throughout the
winter. But this behavior does not occur as often on trees.
leaves starting to change colors in the fall of the year.
Me standing in front of an 8-inch
diameter tree found by Carl in Northern Arkansas.
Note elongated furrowing becoming
recognizable on the trunk
Flowers are small, yellowish,
clustered into a spike known as a catkin and can be foul smelling. Male
flowers occur in slender erect spikes less than 9 inches in length. Female
flowers are less noticeable and occur below male flowers of some spikes or
in shorter, all female spikes.
Fruit are protected by slender,
hairy, 1/2-inch spines that form the protective nut bur. These protective
burs average 1 !/2 inch in diameter and occur in clusters of 5-20. From
August - October, depending on geography the burs split into 2-6 segments,
releasing a brown, single, solitary, round, delicious nut. The nuts vary
in size from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter depending on conditions. Buds are dark brown, lightly haired,
and solitary at the apex of the twig.
Protective spines on burs guard the single nut within each bur.
Note how the bur splits open to release the seed as they begin to ripen
Ozark Chinquapin nut sprouting into a