American Chestnut Project 


 (above) American Chestnut leaves from Pisgah National Forest, NC.  (right)James Parton with an American Chestnut  tree, near Mount Pisgah, NC.

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American Chestnut Project

On March 14, 2010 The Eastern Native Tree Society and Western Native Tree Society switched from discussion lists on Google Groups to a new discussion list in a Bulletin Board format at:  Posts made since the inception of the BBS on march 14, 2010 will be sorted and archived on the BBS. Click on the link above to go to the equivalent section on the new BBS. This website will continue to serve as a front end for the ENTS and WNTS groups. It will continue to serve as a repository of older posts, and will serve as the host site for special projects and features that are not well suited for a BBS format. Please visit the BBs for the latest information and trip reports.

American Chestnut Project

A famous American poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1841) begins: Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands."  The words evoke a scene of the great chestnut trees found here in the eastern United States in the mid 19th century   However since these words were penned, the  American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) has been reduced to occasional specimens growing as root sprouts as a result of Chestnut Blight  (Cryphonectria parasitica), a Chinese fungal parasite introduced into the American population in the early 1900's.  By the late 1930's a species that once compromised almost 25% of the tree populations in the Appalachians was all but gone from its entire range in the eastern United States.  

Present day specimens rarely reach 20 feet in height, before succumbing to the the still virulent chestnut blight.  larger specimens are rare and are sought out by groups such as The American Chestnut Foundation and the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation are actively seeking out these larger specimens as a source of genetic material and seed in attempts to someday restore the American Chestnut populations.  In areas of the western United States and Canada pockets of isolated trees and planted specimens still flourish where the pathogen is not present.  A once isolated pocket in Wisconsin has recently been reached by the blight and is succumbing to the infection.

James Parton (photo above), a member or Easter Native Tree Society and a member of the American Chestnut Foundation, has initiated the ENTS American Chestnut project to compile and coordinate the efforts of ENTS members to document the remaining large specimens of American Chestnut and related species, to document historical information on the species, and to encourage further research on the species.  This section of the website will serve as the portal for the information collected as part of this project.


     Castanea General Information

    Chestnut Blight

    Historical Accounts   


     ENTS Field Trips and Discussions




     External Links and Accounts