American Chestnut
Family: Fagaceae (View Members of Fagaceae)

Genus and species: Castanea dentata

Leaves: The leaves of the American Chestnut and 5-9" (13-23cm) long and 1.5-3" (4-7.5cm) wide. (View Measured Leaf) They are long-pointed and have many parallel side veins, that each end in a curved tooth. The leaves have short stalks and are shiny green above and paler below with a few hairs along the mid-vein. (View Leaves)

Bark: The bark is dark grayish-brown, with ridges. (View Bark) The twigs are green and don't have hair.

Fruit: The fruit is round, bur-like objects that are 2-2.5" (5-6cm) in diameter. The spines on the fruit are 0.5" (12mm) long. When they ripen, they split into a few 0.5" (12mm) egg-shaped chestnuts.

Tree: The tree can reach 20' in height now, but used to be a much more massive tree(60-100', or 18-30m). Most commonly seen as a bunch of young trees growing from the base of a dead one, as can be seen to the left. It has barely endured an introduced fungus that began in New York City which has almost killed the species in forty years. Luckily, the trees can regrow from roots of the dead, but seem to only reach a mere 20' in height before undergoing the death cycle all over again.

Range and Habitat: Found from Ontario east to Maine, south to Georgia, west to Mississippi, north to Indiana. Usually located in moist forests.

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American Chestnut Tree (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 9/30/02)