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A deciduous shrub spreading by underground stems, or a small tree; young shoots covered with short hairs, which persist through the winter. Leaves oblong, inclined to oval and obovate, 3 to 5 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, pointed, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, coarsely toothed; dark green and soon becoming glabrous above, but coated beneath with a persistent, greyish-white (at first quite white), close felt. Male catkins 4 in. or more long. Nut of good flavour, egg-shaped and not flattened, 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, usually solitary in a bur 11⁄2 in. across.
Native of eastern N. America, where it is often known as the ‘chinquapin’; introduced, according to Aiton, in 1699, but very rare in cultivation. There are shrubby examples at Kew which flower, but have never, in my experience, borne fruit. It probably needs a hotter summer than ours, as a small tree at Verrières, near Paris, often fruits freely. This chestnut is distinguished by its shrubby habit, and white under-surface of the leaf. In N. America a single plant often forms a thicket through its habit of spreading by suckers.