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John M. Tucker

Shrub or tree, monoecious, deciduous or evergreen
Leaves simple, alternate, petioled; margin entire to lobed; stipules small, generally deciduous
Staminate inflorescence: catkin or stiff spike; flowers many
Pistillate inflorescence 1–few-flowered, generally above staminate inflorescence; involucre in fruit generally cup-like or lobed and bur-like, bracts many, generally overlapping, flat or cylindric
Staminate flower: sepals generally 5–6, minute; petals 0; stamens 4–12+
Pistillate flower: calyx generally 6-lobed, minute; petals 0; ovary inferior, style branches generally 3
Fruit: acorn (nut subtended by scaly, cup-like involucre) or 1–3 nuts subtended by spiny, bur-like involucre; nut maturing in 1–2 years
Seed generally 1
Genera in family: 7 genera, ± 900 species: generally n hemisphere. Wood of Quercus critical for pre-20th century ship-building, charcoal for metallurgy; some now supply wood (Fagus, Quercus ), cork (Q. suber ), food (Castanea , chestnut).



Leaf leathery; margin entire or slightly wavy above middle; upper surface ± glabrous, green; lower surface golden, with densely spaced, minute, appressed scales; stipules generally deciduous
Staminate inflorescence simple, sometimes branched, stiff, solitary or clustered, ascending to erect
Pistillate inflorescence clustered below staminate inflorescence on same or separate stalk; flowers 1–3
Staminate flower: sepals generally 6, minute; stamens generally 8–10+
Pistillate flower: sepals generally 6, minute
Fruit: nuts 1–3, enclosed by spiny, bur-like involucre, ovoid to subspheric, ± angled, maturing in 2 years
Species in genus: 2 species: w North America
Etymology: (Greek: golden scale, from lower leaf surface)
Reference: [Hjelmqvist 1960 Bot Not 113:373–380]
Asian Castanopsis has involucre with 7 free valves (5 outer, 2 inner separating 3 nuts).


C. chrysophylla (Hook.) Hjelmq.


Shrub or tree < 30(45) m; top ± conic
Stem: trunk bark ± thick, rough, furrowed
Leaf: petiole 5–12 mm; blade 5–15 cm, lanceolate to oblong, base tapered, tip abruptly long-tapered; upper surface dark green; lower surface golden
Fruit: bur 3–5 cm diam; nut 6–15 mm
Ecology: Coniferous forest, closed-cone-pine forest, chaparral
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, n Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada (El Dorado Co.), Central Western California (except Inner South Coast Ranges)
Distribution outside California: to Washington
Horticultural information: DRN: 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17 &IRR: 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 18; DFCLT

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