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Castanea alnifolia Nutt.

Modern name

Castanea pumila (L.) Mill.


C. nana Muhl.

A deciduous shrub 1 to 2 ft high, with a creeping root-stock, growing naturally in small patches. Leaves oblong to oblong-obovate, often blunt at the apex, toothed; 2 to 6 in. long, 34 to 2 in. wide; of stout texture, dark shining green and smooth above, covered beneath with rather tawny down; veins in twelve to sixteen pairs. Fruits solitary to three in a cluster, the husk covered with short spines. Nut solitary.

Native of the S.E. United States. Originally distinguished as a species by Nuttall in 1818, this afterwards became confused with C. pumila. It is, nevertheless, distinct in its dwarf habit, its often blunt-ended leaves whose down on the under-surface is not white as in C. pumila, and whose marginal teeth are more spreading and less bristle-like. The nuts also are said to be generally much larger but less abundant. It is interesting as the dwarfest of all chestnuts, yet inhabiting one of the warmest regions occupied by this genus. It grows chiefly on what the Americans call ‘sandy pine-barrens’, and it may not prove absolutely hardy with us.



Other species in the genus