Castanea dentata
Common name: 
American Chestnut
Pronunciation: 
kas-TAH-ne-a den-TAH-ta
Family: 
Fagaceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Deciduous tree, to 100 ft ( 30 m), wide spreading branches, rounded crown.  Leaves simple, alternate, oblong-lanceolate, 12-24 cm long, 4.5-7.5 cm wide, cuneate base, long-pointed tip, sharp pointed serrations, shiny dark green above.   Male flowers in showy catkins, female flowers inconspicuous, solitary, or in clusters of 2-3, at the base of male catkins.  Fruit enclosed in a prickly burs that are 5-8 cm diameter containing 2-3 ovoid nuts flat on one side, glossy brown, pale downy toward the tops.
  • Full sun.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4    Native range from southern Maine to Michigan, south to Alabama and Mississippi.  However, a fungal blight disease (caused by Cryphonectia parasitica, formerly Endothia parasitica) introduced near the turn of the 19th century eliminated most trees in its native range.  Hybrids of C. dentata have been developed with the more resistant C. mollissima, Chinese Chestnut, and C. crenata, Japanese Chestnut.
  • The blight disease has been identified in the Pacific Coast states and provinces, but it is not common, and C. dentata is grown in this region.   Oregon's Champion American Chestnut tree is 99 ft tall with a spread of 95 ft and trunk a circumference of 19 ft.  It is located in Gladstone in Clackamas County.
  • Castanea: from Greek kastana (chestnut), after a town in northern Greece.  dentata: toothed (the leaves).
  • Oregon State Univ., College of Foresty, Peavy Arboretum.
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    plant habit

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    start of flowering, male

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    male flower clusters and leaves

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    male and female flowers

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    male catkin and flower/fruit

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    male catkin senescence

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    stem and bud, summer

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    leaves and fruit, fall

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    twig and buds, fall

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    twigs and buds, winter