Herb: Chinquapin

Latin name: Castanea pumila

Synonyms: Fagus pumila

Family: Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Medicinal use of Chinquapin:

The leaves contain tannin and are antiperiodic, astringent and tonic. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an external wash for the feverish condition common to colds.

Description of the plant:


4 m
(13 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Dry sandy ridges and rich hillsides where it forms thickets, also in woods and on the borders of swamps.

Edible parts of Chinquapin:

Seed - raw or cooked. Sweet with a nice nutty flavour, it is very acceptable raw and has a superior flavour to sweet chestnuts (C. sativa). When baked it becomes even sweeter and develops a floury texture, it makes an excellent potato or cereal substitute.The seed is quite small, about half the size of C. dentata. It is sold in local markets in America. The seed husks only contain one (rarely two) seed. The seed contains 45% starch and 2.5% protein.

Other uses of the herb:

The bark, leaves, wood and seed husks all contain tannin. Wood - coarse-grained, hard, strong, light, durable, easy to split. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial use, but it is occasionally used for fence posts, fuel etc.

Propagation of Chinquapin:

Seed - where possible sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in a seed bed outdoors. The seed must be protected from mice and squirrels. The seed has a short viability and must not be allowed to become dry. It can be stored in a cool place, such as the salad compartment of a fridge, for a few months if it is kept moist, but check regularly for signs of germination. The seed should germinate in late winter or early spring. If sown in an outdoor seedbed, the plants can be left in situ for 1 - 2 years before planting them out in their permanent positions. If grown in pots, the plants can be put out into their permanent positions in the summer or autumn, making sure to give them some protection from the cold in their first winter. Division of suckers in winter. They can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry sandy ridges and rich hillsides where it forms thickets, also in woods and on the borders of swamps.

Known hazards of Castanea pumila:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.