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American chestnut

Closeup of spiky brown chestnut seed pod

American chestnut

Chestnut tree description TreeNA post

About the chestnut tree

American chestnut - Castanea dentata

Identification: American chestnut is recognizable by its dark brown to red ridged bark and elongated, alternate, toothed oval leaves. Its leaves become deep bronze in autumn. Pale white flowers turn into large, spiky green nuts containing edible chestnuts. These trees are now rare following the chestnut blight that killed millions of this large, stately tree, known as "king of the forest."  

Height: 40-90 feet 

Preferences: Full sun to partial shade. Hardiness zones 4-8.

Wildlife value: Wild chestnut trees produce copious amounts of nutritious nuts valued by many species of wildlife.

Uses: Wood is hard and oak-like, with a straight grain. Chestnuts were once an important food crop for people as chestnuts could be stored through winter. 

Threats: Most American chestnut trees were wiped out by chestnut blight, a fungal disease. Research is ongoing to develop resistant strains to bring back these majestic trees.