The Allegheny chinkapin, also called common chinkapin, may well be our most ignored and undervalued, native North American nut tree. It has been widely hailed as a sweet and edible nut and adds value to it's chestnut cousin and the American chestnut's breeding programs.
I found a chinquapin (variation on the name) on my favorite deer hunting property and know it attracts wildlife. Since the chinkapin is adapted to a wide range of soils and site conditions, it should be considered a preferred species for its wildlife value. The nuts are eaten by a number of small mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, deermice, and chipmunks. Humans are fast becoming major consumers.
Chinkapin Nuts in Bur - Photo by Steve Nix, Licensed to About.com