The name of this tree was derived from Castanea, the chestnut. It is an evergreen tree intermediate between the oak and the chestnut. There are several varieties in the Old World and in the islands of the sea, but only one in this country, and that is on the Pacific Coast. Where the climate is moist, the castanopsis becomes a large tree from fifty to one hundred feet high, with a trunk from two to three feet in diameter, but in the dry regions of California, it is a mere shrub.
C. S. Sargent, in his work entitled " Woods of the United States," says as follows: "This handsome broad-leaved evergreen tree is indigenous to the elevated regions, from Monterey, Cal., northward to the Columbia River in Oregon.
"It is also common in the Sierra Nevadas at elevations of six thousand feet, but in its southern limits rarely below ten thousand feet elevation."
Castanopsis Bur and Kernel.
The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, growing from one to four inches long. The fruit is enclosed in an involucre, or bur, covered with stout, divergent spines from one-half inch to one inch in length. There is usually only one nut in a bur, but several burs grow on one twig.
The nut is small, conical in form, slightly triangular, with a firm, brittle shell, not fibrous like the chestnut or acorn. The kernels are sweet and the flavor excellent. They are greedily eaten by birds as well as squirrels. The nuts do not ripen the first season, but stay on the trees through the winter, and become fully matured about the middle of the next summer.