American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up American Chestnut
Give a thumbs up American Sweet Chestnut

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 50 to 100 feet
Plant Spread: 50 to 70 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Edible to birds
Other: edible to squirrels, mammals, and people
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Shade Tree
Edible Parts: Seeds or Nuts
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

leaves and burrs/seedpods

Honey Bees in the Garden:  JuneHoney Bees in the Garden: June
June 1, 2011

June brings the end of school, Father's Day and summer. Summer brings hot weather and plants may need extra water. Honey bees will also need extra water to keep the hive cool.

(Full article5 comments)
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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Apr 23, 2012 7:14 AM

Honey bees get pollen and honeydew from this plant.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 26, 2017 7:48 PM

The American Chestnut was a very common tree in the eastern US that was know to grow up to about 120 feet in the Appalachians, though usually it was more about 50 to 75 feet high and wide.The American Chestnut was hit hard by the Chestnut Blight from east Asia back in the 1920's and about 99% or more died off, though there are sprouts that still come up from old tree stumps and grow for some years before the fungus kills them back down. A very few did survive, having natural resistance in various spots. These survivors are being propagated, and the American Chestnut Society has interbred the American species with the Chinese to now approaching trees that will be 15/16th American and will have resistance to the disease. Also it has been found that a gene from wheat inserted into chestnut cells gives resistance to the fungus by giving the tree an enzyme that breaks down the acid chemical from the fungus that causes damage. Therefore, the tree will be coming back in the near future. Some are being planted now. This species grows about 2 feet/year and lives over 200 years. Its native range is from Maine down to central Mississippi and as far west as areas in Indiana and southern Michigan. The leaves, buds, and stems of this American species are glabrous, meaning hairless. (The Chinese Chestnut that is occasionally planted around, has at least hair on the veins underneath the leaves and has pubescent hairy buds and stems; and the Chinese species normally is shorter and more wide spreading.)

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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chestnut? by piksihk Aug 31, 2013 9:44 PM 5

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