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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fagales

Familia: Fagaceae
Genus: Chrysolepis
Species: C. chrysophylla – C. sempervirens

Chrysolepis Hjelmq., 1948

Type species: Castanea chrysophylla Douglas ex Hook.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Western USA
California, Oregon, Washington

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Hjelmquist, K.J.H., 1948. Botaniska Notiser. Supplement 2(1): 117.

Additional references

Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (1998). World Checklist and Bibliography of Fagales: 1-408. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Govaerts, R. 1999. World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b). 1532 pp.. MIM, Deurne. ISBN 90-5720-098-8 (issue 1), ISBN 90-5720-099-6 (issue 2b). Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Chrysolepis in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Jun 26. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Chrysolepis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Jun 26. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Chrysolepis. Published online. Accessed: Jun 26 2021. 2021. Chrysolepis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 26 Jun 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Chrysolepis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Jun 26. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. (Chrysolepis). Chrysolepis (Fagaceae). Accessed: 26 Jun 2021.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Chrysolepis (Fagaceae) in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
English: Chinquapins
日本語: トゲガシ属

Chrysolepis is a small genus of plants in the family Fagaceae, endemic to the western United States. Its two species have the common name chinquapin. The genus occurs from western Washington south to the Transverse Ranges in Southern California, and east into Nevada.


Chrysolepis are evergreen trees and shrubs with simple, entire (untoothed) leaves with a dense layer of golden scales on the underside and a thinner layer on the upper side; the leaves persist for 3–4 years before falling.

The fruit is a densely spiny cupule containing 1–3 sweet, edible nuts,[1] eaten by the indigenous peoples. The fruit also provides food for chipmunks and squirrels.[1]

Chrysolepis is related to the subtropical southeast Asian genus Castanopsis (in which it was formerly included), but differs in the nuts being triangular and fully enclosed in a sectioned cupule, and in having bisexual catkins. Chrysolepis also differs from another allied genus Castanea (chestnuts), in nuts that take 14–16 months to mature (3–5 months in Castanea), evergreen leaves and the shoots having a terminal bud.

There are two species of Chrysolepis — Chrysolepis chrysophylla and Chrysolepis sempervirens — which like many species in the related genera of Castanopsis and Castanea are called chinquapin, also spelled "chinkapin".

Image Name Common name Description Distribution
Chrysolepis chrysophylla foliage and fruit Big Basin State Park.jpg Chrysolepis chrysophylla golden chinquapin or giant chinquapin A tree reaching 20–40 metres (66–131 ft) tall, or sometimes a shrub 3–10 metres (9.8–32.8 ft) tall. Chrysolepis chrysophylla grows at lower elevations than C. sempervirens, from sea level to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft), rarely 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The leaves are 6–12 centimetres (2.4–4.7 in) long, with an acute (sharp-pointed) apex. The bark is thick and rough. It occurs in coastal areas of the Pacific Coast Ranges from Washington near Seattle south to the San Luis Obispo area California Coast Ranges. There is also a small disjunct population distribution in the northern Sierra Nevada east of the Sacramento Valley
Chrysolepis sempervirens Owens Valley.jpg Chrysolepis sempervirens bush chinquapin A shrub only 1–2 metres (3.3–6.6 ft) tall. Chrysolepis sempervirens grows mostly at high elevation, 1,000–3,000 metres (3,300–9,800 ft) altitude. The leaves are smaller, 4–8 centimetres (1.6–3.1 in) long, with an obtuse (blunt-pointed or rounded) apex. The bark is thin and smooth. It occurs in interior southwest Oregon and California, in the Klamath Mountains, the full Sierra Nevada range, and the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains of the Southern California Transverse Ranges.


Little, Elbert L. (1994) [1980]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Western Region (Chanticleer Press ed.). Knopf. p. 389. ISBN 0394507614.

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