Which Species of Castanea?


Active Member
I was driving down a rural highway last week and saw catkins hanging off a tree. I hit the brakes to investigate and found several small trees right above a ditch in an old fence line. I believe that these are some type of Castanea and I assume that it is an Alleghany chinkapin, but it could also possibly be a Chinese chestnut tree. I was not able to get a photo of the trunk since it had been raining and I would have been soaked trying to get close to the trunk. The trunk was rather small (3-4 inches in diameter) and the trees were bushy and not that tall (15-20 feet) which points to a chinkapin. I should know for sure what it is in about 4-5 months when it produces seed, but I am impatient. Can anyone definitively identify the tree with just a photo of the leaves?

I have two big Allegheny Chinkapins in my yard at home, and neither of them have leaves that big. Also, the leaf veins look much closer on my trees than those. But, they say the leaves can be up to 6 inches long. I've not seen that on mine.

Those leaves look like the ones on my Chinese Chestnuts.
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Thanks for the ID. The thing that threw me off was the small diameter trunk for tree that tall. Either way I was excited to find a possible source for either chestnuts or chinkapins later this year. Unfortunately it is about an hour away from my house, but luckily it is on the way to my parents' house. I have found two Chinese chestnuts in my hometown, but they are single trees and nothing pollinates them.
Those definitely look like Allegheny Chinkapins to me. My native trees have leaves that are around that length, if not longer in some instances. I’ll take a better picture when I’m back out there this weekend, but here is a thread that has some pictures on it from a few years back when I was confirming the ID, should have pics of the bark as well:


As you said, you’ll definitely know which one it is this fall. If it turns out to be Chinese and not Allegheny, let me know and I’d be happy to send you some off of my trees.

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Here are some pics of one of my Allegheny Chinkapins from this weekend:



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