Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

American Chestnut
Castanea dentata

Other common names: Chestnut, Toothed Chestnut

French names: Châtaignier d'Amérique

Family: Beech Family (Fagaceae)

Distinctive features: Tree

Similar species:
  •   American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) - larger, very smooth bark.

  •   Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

  •   Dwarf Chinquapin Oak (Quercus prinoides)

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed

Habitat: Forests;  Forest.

Edible: The nuts are edible and delicious.

Books: Trees in Canada: 270   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Uncommon.

Notes: This tree was once quite common until a blight from overseas decimated the population. Trees used to grow very large, over 100 feet tall. However, nowadays they seldom reach a height of 30 feet before succumbing to the disease.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: dentata: toothed

Photographs: 74 photographs available, of which 7 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Note the similarity of the leaves to American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Twig with expanding buds, in May.

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Empty nut shell. The nuts are edible, and quite delicious. However, if you find any, please do not collect them in any quantity, perhaps only a couple to taste. The nuts are valuable food for wildlife, and also to help propagate the tree.

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Bark of a mature tree (or, rather, as mature as they get these days).

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Bark of a young tree.

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Here's a view of the clump of American Chestnut that the above two photos are enlarged from.

Range map for American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)