Bush Chinquapin

Chrysolepis sempervirens

 
Family:
Oak (Fagaceae)
Leaves:
Leaves oblong, rounded at the tip; light yellowish to gray-green above, pale rusty below; 1-3 in long x ½ – 1 in wide.
Flowers:
Flowers are clustered at tip of branches; male and female are on the same plant; male flowers tiny and ill-smelling; female flowers at base of male catkin; burs are chestnut-like; nuts usually single, rarely two; ripen in Sept.
Blooms:
July, August
Bark:
Smooth, brown or gray
Habitat:
Ground cover on dry slopes, dry ridges in open coniferous forests; main ground cover on the slopes between Wellman’s Divide and Miller Peak; 2500’ – 11,000’
Comments:
Chinquapin is a low spreading, round-topped bush, 3-6 ft. high. It is often growing with buckthorn (Ceanothus) and snowberry (Symphoricarpos parishii). The pincushion covering over the maturing nuts won’t deter diligent jays and nutcrackers (or hikers) which know about the tiny, tasty hazelnut inside. The seed pods resemble small chestnut burrs.
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