Home » Plants » Castanea dentata

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Page contents

Summary

Formerly one of the main components of the hardwood forests of Eastern North America, this tree's dominance was hugely reduced by the introduction of the Chestnut blight, and is almost extinct in the wild. Trees can still found throughout its original range, and some reach fruiting maturity, but trees have a short lifespan and do not generally reach their original full height, often surviving only due to repeated resprouting from root systems.

Range - Expand

LegendColor
Native

This tentative map is based on the FHWA's ERA. This data lacks information on Canada, but also overestimates native ranges, especially around the edges, as this post explains. We have not yet reviewed or fixed this map.

USDA Plants Profile for Castanea dentata

Illinois Wildflowers Page for Castanea dentata

Similar Plants

Several other Castanea species occur in North America; the smaller Chinquapin (Castanea pumila) are less susceptible to the blight and is still found more in the wild. Castanea ozarkensis is another native species native to the Ozark and Ouachita mountains.

The introduced Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) is also established in the wild at scattered sites, mostly in the southeast, and at a few sites, the European species Castanea sativa has also been introduced.

This genus is also closely related to oaks (Quercus) of which there are far more species.