Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh. - American Chestnut


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Castanea dentata - (image 1 of 7)



Family: Fagaceae


Acid, upland soils. Formerly a dominant component of eastern deciduous forests.




New England south to FL, west WI and IA south to LA.


Deciduous tree to 30 m. Leave oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, sharply serrate with teeth ascending or incurving. Staminate catkins elongate, axillary, to 20 cm. Fruits large, spiny, containing 2 or 3 edible nuts 1.5-2 cm, flattened on one or two sides.     


Flowers appearing after the leaves

Wetland indicator: Upland (?)

Chestnut formerly made up around 50% of eastern forest trees before the introduction of chestnut blight around 1900. The American chestnut had no resistance to the disease and most remaining in the wild today exist mainly as living stumps that occasionally grow large enough to flower before being killed to the ground again by the disease. Attempts have been made to cross breed with Chinese chestnut but the hybrid trees are not like the original chestnut. More recently, genetic engineering is being employed to add resistance to otherwise pure American chestnut.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (

National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.




 Michael Hough 2004