Fagaceae (Beech Family)
Formerly a large tree
with a massive trunk and a broad, rounded, dense crown; now small sprouts from base of long-dead trees.
American Chestnut is gone from the forests, a victim of the chestnut blight caused by an introduced fungus. This disease began in New York City in 1904, spread rapidly, and within 40 years had virtually wiped out this once abundant species. Fortunately, there is no threat of extinction; sprouts continue from roots until killed back by the blight, and cultivated trees grow in western states and other areas where the parasite is absent. Blight-resistant chestnuts such as hybrids between American and Chinese species are being developed for ornament, shade, and wildlife. The wood of this species was once the main domestic source of tannin, the edible chestnuts were a commercial crop, and the leaves were used in home medicines.
Image Gallery: 4 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
, DC Canada: ON Native Distribution:
Extreme s. Ontario east to Maine, south to sw. Georgia, west to Mississippi, north to Indiana; to 4000 (1219 m). Native Habitat:
Moist upland soils in mixed forests.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Provides larval food for around 125 species of butterflies and moths. Use Food:
Once the most important edible nut
of eastern indigenous people. Use Medicinal:
This is Canadas only native
chestnut. Settlers boiled the leaves to make a jelly for treating burns and sweaty feet. A tea of the bark
was gargled to soothe inflamed tonsils, and it was swallowed (with honey) to cure whooping cough. (Kershaw) Conspicuous Flowers:
For circa 125 species of Lepidoptera.