Trees or rarely shrubs, deciduous. Bark furrowed. Axillary buds of most apical leaves in false-terminal buds, usually enclosed by 2 outer scales, imbricate within. Leaves spirally arranged but twisted and appearing 2-ranked; secondary veins ± parallel. Male inflorescences erect catkins; flowers in clusters of 1-3(-5) with each cluster subtended by a bract; perianth 6-parted; stamens 10-12(-20); rudimentary pistil pubescent. Female flowers borne on proximal part of androgynous inflorescences, rarely on a separate inflorescence, usually 3 and subtended by 1 symmetric cupule; ovary 6-9-loculed; styles 6-9; stigmas terminal, minutely punctiform. Cupules splitting into 2-4 valves; bracts spinelike. Nuts 1-3 per cupule. Germination hypogeal.
Trees or shrubs , winter-deciduous, sometimes rhizomatous. Terminal buds absent, pseudoterminal bud (axillary bud of youngest leaf) ovoid, with 2 unequal opposite outer scales enclosing several imbricate inner scales. Leaves: stipules prominent on new growth, soon deciduous. Leaf blade thin, somewhat leathery, secondary veins unbranched, ±parallel, extending to margin, each vein ending in sharp tooth or well-developed awn. Inflorescences staminate or androgynous, axillary, spicate, erect, rigid or flexible; androgynous inflorescences with pistillate cupules/flowers toward base and staminate flowers distally. Staminate flowers: sepals distinct; stamens 12(-18), typically surrounding indurate pistillode covered with silky hairs. Pistillate flowers 1-3 per cupule; sepals distinct; carpels and styles typically 6(-9). Fruits: maturation in 1st year following pollination (termed annual by many authors); cupule 2-4-valved, valves connate marginally until maturity, ±completely enclosing nut(s), spiny, spines irregularly branched, often interlocking, densely or sparsely covered in simple hairs; nuts 1-3 per cupule, plano-convex, or if 3, then central nut often reduced and flattened, or if solitary, then often rounded in cross section, not winged, adjacent nuts not separated by internal cupule valves. x = 12.
Hardin, J. W. and G. P. Johnson. 1985. Atlas of foliar surface features in woody plants, VIII. Fagus and Castanea (Fagaceae) of eastern North America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 112: 11-20. Johnson, G. P. 1988. Revision of Castanea sect. Balanocastanon (Fagaceae). J. Arnold Arbor. 69: 25-49. Paillet, F. L. 1993. Growth form and life histories of American chestnut and Allegheny and Ozark chinquapin at various North American sites. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 120: 257-268. Paillet, F. L. and P. A. Rutter. 1989. Replacement of native oak and hickory tree species by the introduced American chestnut Castanea dentata in southwestern Wisconsin, USA. Canad. J. Bot. 67: 3457-3469. Tucker, G. E. 1975. Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis (Ashe) Tucker, comb. nov. Proc. Arkansas Acad. Sci. 29: 67-69.
|Chestnut, châtaignier [Classical Latin, from Greek kastanaion karuon, nut from Castania, probably referring either to Kastanaia in Pontus or Castana in Thessaly]|