Florida Chinquepin
Castanea alnifolia
Fagaceae (Beech) Family

Florida Chinquepin is also known as Trailing Chinkapin and Chinkapin.

Plant is a low spreading shrub or small tree with a spreading crown. Preferred habitat is upland woods, dry sandy soils and oak forests (rarely at seashore). Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are oblong or widest at the center, with many straight parallel side veins each ending in short teeth. Leaf stalks are short, hairless; dark green above, pale green and sometimes hairy beneath.

Flowers are catkins that emerge in late spring/early summer, many tiny whitish male flowers 4-5 inches long and appearing at the base of a leaf stalk. Several tiny female flowers at base of shorter catkins. Flowers occur in late spring.

Fruit is a marble-sized nut; shiny brown, edible and enclosed in a spiny husk that splits in autumn.

This species is typically a low shrub that forms thickets from underground root stalks. The tree form occurs mainly in northern Florida. Chinquapins, or nuts, of this species are eaten chiefly by wildlife. Other related chinquapins in the Escambia are Alabama Chinqualin, Ozark and Allegheny Chinquapin; however, these are usually found at slightly higher elevations.

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