This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Trees or shrubs, with serrate straight-veined leaves, their teeth sharply acuminate. Flowers appearing after the leaves, the staminate in erect or spreading, narrowly cylindric, interrupted axillary yellowish aments, several in the axil of each bract, the bracts fugacious, the pistillate borne in prickly involucres at the bases of the staminate aments or in separate axils. Staminate flowers 2-bracteolate, consisting of a mostly 6-lobed campanulate perianth and numerous stamens, sometimes also with an abortive ovary; filaments filiform, long-exserted. Pistillate flowers 2-5 (commonly 3) in each involucre, consisting of an urn-shaped 6-lobed perianth adnate to the mostly 6-celled ovary, and usually with 4-12 abortive stamens; ovules 2 in each cavity, 1 ovule only of each ovary usually maturing; styles as many as the cavities of the ovary, slender, exserted; stigmas minute. Pistillate involucre enlarging and becoming a globose mostly 4-valved very prickly bur in fruit, enclosing 1-several nuts. Nut rounded or plano-convex, 1-seeded, the shell coriaceous. Seed large, sweet. Style mostly persistent. [Name Greek, from a city in Thessaly.]
Leaves green on both sides; nuts usually 2-5 in each involucre; large tree.
C. dent at a.
Fagus Castanea dentata Marsh. Arb. Am. 46. 1785.
Castanea dentata Borkh. Handb. Forstb. 1: 741. 1800.
C. vesca var. americana Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. a: 193. 1803.
A large forest tree, with gray bark rough in longitudinal plates, reaching a maximum height of about 100° and a trunk diameter of 140; lower branches spreading. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, glabrous, firm, acuminate at the apex, narrowed or rounded at the base, coarsely serrate, with very sharp-pointed ascending teeth, rather dark green above, lighter beneath, 5'-12' long, 1 1/2'-3' wide; petioles stout, 1/2'-l' long; staminate aments erect, numerous, borne solitary in the upper axils, 6'-12' long, 4"-5" in diameter; burs 1 1/2'-4' in diameter, solitary or 2-4 together, enclosing 1-5 nuts; nuts puberulent, dark brown, plano-convex or angled on the face, or when solitary ovoid.
In rich soil, Maine and Ontario to Michigan, Georgia and Arkansas. Wood coarse-grained, durable, brown; weight per cubic foot 28 lbs. Involucre sometimes suppressed and the nuts naked. June-July. Nuts ripe Sept-Oct. Sardian nut. Prickly bur.
Fagas pumila L. Sp. PI. 998. 1753.
A shrub or small tree, sometimes 45° high and with Leaves oblong, acute at both ends, sharply serrate with a trunk 30 in diameter, the young shoots puberulent. ascending or divergent teeth, dark green and glabrous above, densely white-tomentulose beneath, 3'-6' long, 1'-2 1/2 wide; staminate aments erect or somewhat spreading, 3'-5' long, 3"-4" in diameter; burs 1 1/2' in diameter or less, commonly spicate, enclosing a solitary ovoid brown nut (rarely 2); seed very sweet.
In dry soil, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Missouri, Florida and Texas. Wood strong, coarse-grained, dark brown; weight per cubic foot 37 lbs. June. Nuts ripe Sept.