AskDefine | Define chinquapin

Dictionary Definition



1 shrubby tree closely related to the Allegheny chinkapin but with larger leaves; southern midwest United States [syn: Ozark chinkapin, Ozark chinquapin, Castanea ozarkensis]
2 shrubby chestnut tree of southeastern United States having small edible nuts [syn: Allegheny chinkapin, eastern chinquapin, dwarf chestnut, Castanea pumila]
3 small nut of either of two small chestnut trees of the southern United States; resembles a hazelnut [syn: chincapin, chinkapin]

Extensive Definition

"Chinkapin" and "Chinquapin" redirect here; for other uses see Chinkapin (disambiguation) and Chinquapin (disambiguation).
Chestnut (Castanea), including chinkapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.
Most of the species are large trees growing to 20-40 m tall, but some species (the chinkapins) are smaller, often shrubby. The leaves are simple, ovate or lanceolate, 10-30 cm long and 4-10 cm broad, with sharply pointed, widely-spaced teeth, with shallow rounded sinuses between. The flowers are catkins, produced in mid summer; they have a heavy, unpleasant odour. The fruit is a spiny cupule 5-11 cm diameter, containing one to seven nuts.
The name Castanea comes from the old Latin name for the Sweet Chestnut.
Chestnuts should not be confused with either Horse-chestnuts (family Sapindaceae; also called "buckeye"), or water-chestnuts (family Cyperaceae); both are so named for producing superficially similar nuts.


Chestnut trees thrive on neutral and acidic soils, such as soils derived from granite, sandstone, or schist, and do not grow well on alkaline soils such as chalk. The wood of the Sweet Chestnut is most commonly used in small items where durability is important, such as fencing and wooden outdoor cladding ('shingles') for buildings. In Italy, it is also used to make barrels used for aging balsamic vinegar.
The bark was also a useful source of natural tannins, used for tanning leather before the introduction of synthetic tannins.


Chestnuts grown for nut production are grown in orchards with wide spacing between the trees to encourage low, broad crowns with maximum exposure to sunshine to increase nut production. On alkaline soils, chestnuts can be grown by grafting them onto oak rootstocks. Most wood production is done by coppice systems, cut on a 12 year rotation to provide small timber which does not split as badly as large logs.
Chestnuts for planting require storage in moist sand and chilling over the winter before sowing; drying kills the seed and prevents germination.

Artistic references

  • The jazz standard "April in Paris" begins, "April in Paris / Chestnuts in blossom."
  • In the Polish film, Ashes and Diamonds, two characters reminisce about the chestnut trees that once lined a famous boulevard destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising.
  • "The Christmas Song" begins with the phrase "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." Nat King Cole's hit recording is now a Christmas standard.
  • In the movie Howards End, Mrs. Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave) tells of her childhood home, where superstitious farmers would place pigs' teeth in the bark of the chestnut trees and then chew on this bark to ease toothaches.
  • In the novel Jane Eyre, a chestnut tree outside of Thornfield Hall is broken in two by lightning. This foreshadows the break-up of Rochester and Jane's marriage.
  • The opening lines of Longfellow's poem The Village Blacksmith are "Under a spreading chestnut-tree / the village smithy stands." This famous reference is much remarked upon by those involved in projects to return the American chestnut to the wild.
  • In George Orwell's 1984 the chestnut tree is used in poems recited throughout, referring to nature, modern life and lies ie the saying; 'that old chestnut'.
chinquapin in Arabic: الكستناءه
chinquapin in Bulgarian: Кестен
chinquapin in Catalan: Castanya
chinquapin in Danish: Kastanje
chinquapin in German: Kastanien
chinquapin in Modern Greek (1453-): Καστανιά
chinquapin in Spanish: Castanea
chinquapin in Esperanto: Kastaneo
chinquapin in French: Châtaigne
chinquapin in Galician: Castiñeiro
chinquapin in Korean: 밤나무속
chinquapin in Ido: Kastano
chinquapin in Italian: Castanea
chinquapin in Latin: Castanea
chinquapin in Dutch: Kastanje
chinquapin in Japanese: クリ
chinquapin in Polish: Kasztan
chinquapin in Portuguese: Castanha
chinquapin in Russian: Каштан
chinquapin in Serbian: Питоми кестен
chinquapin in Finnish: Kastanja
chinquapin in Thai: เกาลัด
chinquapin in Turkish: Kestane
chinquapin in Ukrainian: Каштан
chinquapin in Chinese: 栗
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1