This is one of our more interesting tree we have here in north coast forests. I typically see this tree outside of the redwood fringe in Douglas-fir and tanoak forests. Apparently chinkapin (castanopsis chrysophylla) is considered the ancient condition, or gentic form of the Beech (fagaceae) family, which of course today looks much different. There are only 2 species of castanopsis in America, but over 148 species known in Asia. I wonder if these trees are indeed hold outs from ancient times, like redwoods. Does the rare dawn redwood found in Asia also point to the possibility that our forests are some how connected?
I never really notice the young trees, as they look just like tanoak. And who likes young, thick tanoak? But, just like tanoak, when you come across mature large trees you realize how beautiful they are. They remind me Tolkiens’ Ents.