Script for "Ozark Chinquapin Trees in Our Yard"


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(overlay captions in italics)


Chinquapin Trees were once plentiful in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks producing a bountiful crop of delicious nuts. The wood was strong, decay resistant and often used for building materials, furniture and musical instruments.

Wayne MO: 1933


Sadly, during the 1950's, the Ozark Chinquapin Trees began dying. This devastation was caused by the Chestnut Blight first appearing in New York during the early 1900's. The Blight rapidly progressed westward and, ... in just 50-years, ... reached the Ozarks.


This was a sad time for my brothers, cousins and I. The roasted nuts were a special treat for us.

1946: With Grandparents Near Gateway AR

1946: Near Cassville MO

Fortunately, a few trees survived as new growth sprouting from the old rotting stumps and some trees reached maturity. Several people and organizations have worked to propagate these survivors.

March 19, 2014; March 29, 2014; August 2, 2014

I joined this effort by obtaining four seeds selected from a surviving tree. After germinating the seeds in the refrigerator, they were set out in our yard. The seedlings looked good but, by late Summer, they were were all dead. It was a disappointment, but, ... not the end.

July 28, 2015; Chinquapin


In the Summer of the following year and only 20-yards down the hill from our back door was a mature Chinquapin Tree. It was like a Christmas present in July and now, … marked with a red ribbon, … we named this gift “Red”. The tree was about 25-feet tall, the trunk 4-inches in diameter and about 20-years old. The seed burrs were still green and would be 3-months before harvest. The steep hillside made it difficult to reach. Initially, a rope was used which enabled me to clean away the brush and trees to allow more growing room and sunlight. Also, a protector on the trunk was installed to keep the squirrels away from the nuts. Later, a zigzag trail was fixed down to the tree making access easier.


While awaiting the nuts to mature, a search was made on the hillside for more trees. First, some clear, identifying characteristics were necessary to distinguish the Chinquapin from other trees and shrubs. Two primary identifying features aside from the obvious blooms and fruit are used.

Chinquapin --- Maple; Several Hickory Tree Varieties

  • First, the Trunk: For the younger trees, it is smooth and similar to the Maple and some other tree varieties.

  • Next, the Leaves: The serrated oval leaf looks similar to several tree species such as Elm and Chinquapin Oak. The density and depth of the serrations, as well as the leaf shape, are important marks. The Chinquapin Oak is an asymmetrical oval with a sharper point on the stem end than on the terminal end.

Chinquapin --- Chinquapin Oak; Chinquapin --- Elm, Chinquapin --- Chinquapin Oak
Several Chinquapin Trees were found on our property. For the most part, they were young and non-bearing. With only two exceptions, there was no sign of an old stump next to the new growth. Some were several years old and over 10-feet tall with one to two-inch diameter trunks.

Most of the new trees were found near what appeared to be the decaying carcass of a huge Chinquapin Tree that died 50 to 60-years ago. This set of trees was located about 200-yards from our house. The search identified only one other tree with maturing Chinquapins. It was named “Gold” because of its value. This tree was located near the highway and appeared to be growing from an older stump.

Sept. 18, 2015 blight canker ; May 18, 2016


Gold”, as well as one other tree, had damage to the bottom of the trunk consistent with Chinquapin Blight symptoms. The following year, both trees were dead.


October was time to harvest the crop. However, this was difficult since the burr opens and drops the nut while still attached to the tree limb. Waiting until the nut falls was not an option since squirrels will be the first to find them in the thick undergrowth. A long pole was used with a tin can attached on the end; the same pole used for picking apples and peaches. The tractor helped to harvest the nuts from “Gold”.


The harvest was not like old times but rewarding nonetheless. Several of the nuts were very small due to poor pollination since there were no co-located mature trees.

Sept. 29, 2015


In the Fall, our Chinquapin Trees have their own distinctive display of yellow and green, which make them easy to identify.

Nov.4, 2015; Oct. 15, 2015; April 23, 2008; Oct. 13, 2012; Feb. 9, 2014

During the clearing of the trees near our house, several photos were taken in 2005 to 2016. “Red” appears about 10-feet tall in 2005 and about 15 -eet in 2008. This tree is clearly identified in the video taken in 2014. It was a near miss for our friend as it swung back and forth from the close call. The next year I found the huge tree smashed two smaller Chinquapin Trees. These survived but with major damage.

July 28, 2015; Oct. 17, 2006; April 10, 2008; March 10, 2014


Another small tree is clearly evident near a large Hickory Tree. This small tree is probably 15-years old but its growth has been stunted because of the nearby tree. Like “Red”, there was no sign of a Chinquapin stump. We named this tree “Hope” because it was growing so slowly.

April 10, 2008

Many of these Chinquapin Trees originated from seed. But, where is the original tree? Perhaps it is this one – or – another one – in this photo made in 2008. This was actually a Hickory Tree as identified by the upward pointing leaf stems.

March 4, 2016; April 12, 2016; April 21, 2016

During November 2015, three small seedling trees were transplanted to the yard. They are doing OK, however, it remains to be seen if these plants are resistant to the Blight. In any event, the Chinquapin Trees on our acreage will be continually monitored. Hopefully, some will grow to maturity and produce a bountiful harvest of delicious Chinquapin nuts remembered from times of long ago.

April 28, 2016; May 1, 2016; May 16, 2016; May 18, 2016 ;

These Ozark Chinquapin Trees are struggling to recapture their place in the Ozark forests. But, they need our help. Will you join the effort? Perhaps there are Ozark Chinquapin Trees near your home – maybe even in your yard!


The long bloom shafts displayed in early June are easily spotted on our Chinquapin Tree. Also, similar blooms were observed in a yard next to a busy street and on another tree only two miles from our home. While the blooms appear to be the same, the serrations on the leaves are not as deep as that of the Chinquapin. These large trees are Chinese Chestnut and have a larger seed burr and more compact spines than the Ozark Chinquapin.


On August 29 a severe rainstorm stripped most of the burrs from the tree and were found on the ground nearby. The few remaining burrs appeared to be lonely.


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