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American Chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkh.)

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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

Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded
Expanded or Not Present
Native or Expanded or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Although this species was nearly eradicated in its native range due to the blight, it has also been widely planted and there are some places where it has established in its range northwest of its original range. Although these populations are hardly vigorous, we have marked them as expanded because they are directly adjacent to this species native range.

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.

American Chestnut | The Wood Database (About This Site)

Castanea dentata (American Chestnut) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Castanea dentata (American Chestnut) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Castanea dentata | Go Botany (About This Site)

Castanea dentata (American Chestnut) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

American Chestnut | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Castanea dentata | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Castanea dentata | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Castanea dentata | Flora of North America (About This Site)

American Chestnut | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkhausen (American Chestnut) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)