Genus: Castanea

By Steven D. Glenn

Not peer reviewed

Last Modified 02/01/2013

Back to Fagaceae


Castanea Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4. 1754. LECTOTYPE: C. sativa Mill. (see Britton & A.Br., Ill. Fl. N.U.S. ed. 2. 1: 615. 1913).

[Fagus L., Sp. Pl. 997. 1753, p. p.]

Fagus Castanea Weston, Bot. Univ. 1: 107. 1770. TYPE: unknown.

Castanophorum Neck., Elem. Bot. 3: 257. 1790. TYPE: unknown.

Castanea subgen. Eucastanea Koehne, Deut. Dendrol. 121. 1893. TYPE: unknown.

Castanea sect. Eucastanea, sect. Balanocastanon & sect. Hypocastanon Dode, Bull. Soc. Dendrol. France, 1908: 140. 1908. TYPE: unknown.

Key to the species of Castanea

The key below should be used with caution; breeding programs have produced hybrids of C. dentata with various combinations of non-native chestnut species, identifying these hybrids are problematic at best.

1. Leaves nearly glabrous beneath (mature lvs. of C. sativa may be nearly glabrous)...Castanea dentata

1. Leaves markedly pubescent beneath...2


2. Shrub to small tree, less than 10 m tall…3

2. Large trees, 20-30 m tall…4


3. Leaves without lepidote glands beneath; solitary nut…Castanea pumila

3. Leaves with lepidote glands beneath; 2-3 nuts…Castanea crenata


4. Leaves without lepidote glands beneath…Castanea mollissima

4. Leaves with lepidote glands beneath…Castanea sativa

List of Castanea Species

References to Castanea

  • Abrams, M. D.; Kubiske, M. E.; Mostoller, S. A. 1994. Relating wet and dry year ecophysiology to leaf structure in contrasting temperate tree species. Ecology 75: 123-33.
  • Anagnostakis, S. L. 1978. The American chestnut: new hope for a fallen giant. Connecticut Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 777: 1-9.
  • Anagnostakis, S. L. 1996. The Chestnut Story. ()
  • Anagnostakis, S. L. 1987. Chestnut blight: the classical problem of an introduced pathogen. Mycologia 79: 23-27.
  • Anagnostakis, S. L.; Hillman, B. 1992. Evolution of the chestnut tree and its blight. Arnoldia (Jamaica Plain) 52: 2-10.
  • Anderson, A. B. 1955. Recovery and utilization of tree extractives. Econ. Bot. 9(2): 108-40.
  • Beattie, R. K.; Diller, J. D. 1954. Fifty years of chestnut blight in America. J. Forest. 52: 323-9.
  • Brett, D. W. 1964. The inflorescence of Fagus and Castanea and the evolution of the cupules of the Fagaceae. New Phyt. 63: 96-117.
  • Brewer, L. G. 1995. Ecology of survival and recovery from blight in American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.) in Michigan. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 122: 40-57.
  • Brooks, A. B. 1937. Castanea dentata. Castanea 2: 61-7.
  • Carpenter, S. B.; Smith, N. D. 1975. Stomatal distribution and size in southern Appalachian hardwoods. Canad. J. Bot. 53: 1153-6.
  • Carpenter, S. B.; Smith, N. D. 1979. Variation in shade leaf thickness among urban trees growing in metropolitan Lexington, Kentucky. Castanea 44: 94-8.
  • Carter, J. C. 1975. Major tree diseases of the century. J. Arboric. 1(8): 141-7.
  • Celakovsky, L. 1890. Ueber die Cupula von Fagus und Castanea. Jahrb. Wiss. Bot. 21: 128-161. (In German)
  • Clapper, R. B. 1954. Chestnut breeding, techniques and results. I. Breeding material and pollination techniques. J. Heredity 45: 107-14.
  • Clinton, G. P. 1913. Chestnut bark disease. Connecticut Agr. Exp. Sta. Rep. 1912: 359-453.
  • Croxton, W. C. 1939. A study of the tolerance of trees to breakage by ice accumulation. Ecology 20: 71-3. (spp. table reprinted in Arborist's News 4(3):24. 1939.)
  • Dane, F. 2003. Intercontinental genetic divergence of Castanea species in eastern Asia and eastern North America. Heredity 91: 314-321.
  • Dietz, A. 1978. The use of ionizing radiation to develop a blight resistant American chestnut Castanea dentata, through induced mutations. In: Proceedings of the American Chestnut Symposium, Morgantown, WV, Jan. 4-5, 1978. West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. , 17-20 pages.
  • Diller, J. D. 1956. Is our American chestnut developing blight resistance? Northern Nut Growers Ann. Rept. 47: 29-31.
  • Diller, J. D. 1965. Chestnut blight.
  • Elias, T. S. 1971. The genera of Fagaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 52: 159-95.
  • Exum, E. M. 1992. Tree in a coma. Amer. Forests 98(11-12): 20-5.
  • Fey, B. S.; Endress, P. K. 1983. Development and morphological interpretation of the cupule in Fagaceae. Flora 173: 451-468.
  • Forest, H. S. 1978. The American chestnut in New York. Conservationist 33(1): 25-6. (NY Dept. Envir. Conserv., July-August)
  • Forest, H. S.; Kely, J. W.; Wiedman, C. P. 1977. The American chestnut: a rare regional tree species. The Rochester Committee for Scientific Information Bulletin 203: 1-12.
  • Forman, L. L. 1966. On the evolution of cupules in the Fagaceae. Kew Bull. 18: 385-419.
  • Foster, D. R.; Zebryk, T. M. 1993. Long-term vegetation dynamics and disturbance history of a Tsuga-dominated forest in New England. Ecology 74: 982-98.
  • Frascaria, N.; Maggia, L.; Michaud, M.; Bousquet, J. 1993. The rbcL gene sequence from chestnut indicates a slow rate of evolution in the Fagaceae. Genome 36: 668-71.
  • Fu, Y.; Dane, F. 2003. Allozyme variation in endangered Castanea pumila var. pumila. Ann. Bot. (London) 92: 223-230.
  • Gao, S. 1995. Effects of water stress on chestnut blight. Canad. J. Forest Res. 25: 1030-1035.
  • Good, N. F. 1968. A study of natural replacement of chestnut in six stands in the highlands of New Jersey. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 95: 240-53. (Also Acer, Betula, & Fagus)
  • Good, N. F.; Good, R. E. 1972. Population dynamics of tree seedlings and saplings in a mature eastern hardwood forest. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 99: 172-8.
  • Graves, A. H. 1961. Keys to chestnut species. Northern Nut Growers Ann. Rept. 52: 78-90.
  • Graves, A. H. 1926. The cause of the persistent development of basal shoots from blighted chestnut trees. Phytopathology 16: 615-21. (also reprinted in Brooklyn Botanic Garden Contributions No. 47. 1926)
  • Graves, A. H. 1918. Resistance in the American chestnut to the bark disease. Science 48: 652-3.
  • Graves, H. S. 1905. Notes on the rate of growth of red cedar, red oak, and chestnut. Forest. Quart. 3: 349-53.
  • Griffin, G. J. 1992. American chestnut survival in understory mesic sites following the chestnut blight pandemic. Canad. J. Bot. 70(10): 1950-6.
  • Griffin, G. J.; Smith, H. C.; Dietz, A.; Elkins, J. R. 1991. Importance of hardwood competition to American chestnut survival, growth, and blight development in forest clearcuts. Canad. J. Bot. 69(8): 1804-9.
  • Grime, J. P.; Jeffrey, D. W. 1965. Seedling establishment in vertical gradients of sunlight. J. Ecol. 53(3): 621-42.
  • Groome, P. C. 2001. Bacteria found on American chestnut bark and their potential in biocontrol of chestnut blight. Arboric. J. 25: 221-234.
  • Hardin, J. W.; Johnson, G. P. 1985. Atlas of foliar surface features in woody plants, VIII. Fagus and Castanea (Fagaceae) of eastern North America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 112: 11-20.
  • Hollick, A. 1907. The chestnut disease on Staten Island. Proc. Staten Island Assoc. Arts 2: 125.
  • Huang, H.; Dane, F.; Kubisiak, T. L. 1998. Allozyme and RAPD analysis of the genetic diversity and geographic variation in wild populations of the American chestnut (Fagaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 85: 1013-1021.
  • Huntwork, J. E. 1994. The majestic American chestnut, A history and cookbook. Author, Cadillac, MI.
  • Hutchinson, A. H. 1918. Limiting factors in relation to specific ranges of tolerance of forest trees. Bot. Gaz. 66: 465-93.
  • Isenberg, I. H. 1956. Papermaking fibers. Econ. Bot. 10(2): 176-93.
  • Jackson, L. W. R.; Driver, C. H. 1969. Morphology of mycorrhizae on deciduous forest tree species. Castanea 34: 230-5.
  • Jaynes, R. A. 1962. Chestnut chromosomes. Forest Sci. 8: 372-7.
  • Jaynes, R. A. 1964. Interspecific crosses in the genus Castanea. Silvae Genet. 13: 146-54.
  • Jaynes, R. A. (eds.) (1969): 1969. Handbook of North American nut trees. Northern Nut Growers Association, Knoxville, TN. , 421 pages.
  • Johnson, G. P. 1988. Revision of Castanea sect. Balanocastanon (Fagaceae). J. Arnold Arbor. 69(1): 25-49. (see also Ph.D. dissertation, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC. 1985.)
  • Johnson, G. P. 1985. Revision of Castanea sect. Balanocastanon. Ph.D. Dissertation North Carolina State University, Raleigh,
  • Jones, J. H. 1986. Evolution of the Fagaceae: the implications of foliar features. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 73: 228-75.
  • Kaul, R. B. 1986. Evolution and reproductive biology of inflorescences in Lithocarpus, Castanopsis, Castanea and Quercus (Fagaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 73: 284-96.
  • Kaul, R. B.; Abbe, E. C. 1984. Inflorescence architecture and evolution in the Fagaceae. J. Arnold Arbor. 65: 375-401.
  • King, D. A. 2003. Allocation of above-ground growth Is related to light in temperate deciduous saplings. Funct. Ecol. 17: 482-488.
  • Korstian, C. F.; Stickel, P. W. 1927. The natural replacement of blight-killed chestnut in hardwood forests of the northeast. J. Agric. Res. 34: 631-48.
  • Langdon, L. M. 1949. The Castaneae, variations of floral and inflorescence morphology. (Abstr.). Amer. J. Bot. 36: 798.
  • Latham, R. E. 1992. Co-occurring tree species change rank in seedling performance with resources varied experimentally. Ecology 73: 2129-44.
  • Lauriault, J. 1994. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata): A tree almost decimated in a few decades. Global Biodiversity 4(2): 12-5.
  • Long Island Botanical Society Flora Committee. 2001. Preliminary Atlas of the Fagaceae of Long Island, New York. Long Island Botanical Society Newsletter 11: 1, 6-9.
  • Manos, P. S.; Stanford, A. M. 2001. The historical biogeography of Fagaceae: tracking the Tertiary history of temperate and subtropical forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Int. J. Plant Sci. 162: S77-S93.
  • Martin, W. L.; Sharik, T. L.; Oderwald, R. G.; Smith, D. W. 1982. Phytomass: structural relationships for woody plant species in the understory of an Appalachian oak forest. Canad. J. Bot. 60: 1923-7.
  • Mattoon, W. R. 1909. The origin and early development of chestnut sprouts. Forest. Quart. 7: 34-7.
  • Maycock, P. F. 1963. The phytosociology of the deciduous forests of extreme southern Ontario. Canad. J. Bot. 41: 379-438.
  • McInteer, B. B. 1947. Soil preference of some plants as seen in Kentucky. Castanea 12: 1-8.
  • Meurer-Grimes, B. 1995. New evidence for the systematic significance of acylated spermidines and flavonoids in pollen of higher Hamamelidae. Brittonia 47(2): 130-42.
  • Morris, R. T. 1914. Chestnut blight resistance. J. Heredity 5: 26-9.
  • Murrill, W. A. 1906. A serious chestnut disease. J. New York Bot. Gard. 7: 143-53.
  • Nelson, R. M. 1932. Growth and mortality of chestnut sprouts. J. Forest. 30: 872-3.
  • Okamoto, M. 1989. A comparative study of the ontogenetic development of the cupules in Castanea and Lithocarpus (Fagaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 168(1-2): 7-18.
  • Paillet, F. L. 1988. Character and distribution of American chestnut sprouts in southern New England woodlands. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 115: 32-44.
  • Paillet, F. L. 1984. Growth-form and ecology of American chestnut sprout clones in northeastern Massachusetts. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 111: 316-28.
  • Paillet, F. L. 1982. Ecological significance of American chestnut in the Holocene forests of Connecticut. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 109(4): 457-73.
  • Paillet, F. L. 1993. Growth form and life histories of American chestnut and Allegheny and Ozark chinquapin at various North American sites. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 120: 257-68.
  • Paillet, F. L. 2002. Chestnut: History and ecology of a transformed species. J. Biogeogr. 29: 1517-1530.
  • Paillet, F. L.; Rutter, P. A. 1989. Replacement of native oak and hickory tree species by the introduced American chesnut Castanea dentata in southwestern Wisconsin, USA. Canad. J. Bot. 67: 3457-69.
  • Parker, G. G. 1993. Decline of understory American chestnut (Castanea dentata) in a southern Appalachian forest. Canad. J. Forest Res. 23: 259-265.
  • Potente, J. 2003. Retrieving the American chestnut. Long Island Botanical Society Newsletter 13: 1, 4-11.
  • Reynolds, D. L.; Burke, K. L. 2011. The effect of growth rate, age, and chesnut blight on American chestnut mortality. Castanea 76: 129-139.
  • Rowlee, W. W.; Hastings, G. T. 1898. The seeds and seedlings of some Amentiferae. Bot. Gaz. 26: 349-53.
  • Rudkin, W. H. 1880. A large chestnut tree. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 7: 81.
  • Russell, E. W. B. 1987. Pre-blight distribution of Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 114: 183-90.
  • Schaberg, P. G. 2009. Is nut cold tolerance a limitation to the restoration of American chestnut in the northeastern United States? Ecological Restoration 27: 266-268.
  • Schwadron, P. A. 1995. Distribution and persistence of American Chestnut sprouts, Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh., in northeastern Ohio woodlands. Ohio J. Science 95: 281-288.
  • Stilwell, K. L. 2003. Heterozygote advantage in the American chestnut, Castanea dentata (Fagaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 90: 207-213.
  • Stout, A. B. 1928. Dichogamy in flowering plants. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 55: 141-53.
  • Stout, A. B. 1926. Why are chestnuts self-fruitless? J. New York Bot. Gard. 27: 154-8.
  • Sudworth, G. B. 1892. On the name of the American chestnut. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 19: 152-4.
  • Sullivan, J. 1994. Castanea pumila. ()
  • Tattar, T. A. 1996. Biocontrol of the chestnut blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. Arboric. J. 20: 449-469.
  • Vilkomerson, H. 1941. Flowering habits of the chestnut. Northern Nut Growers Ann. Rept. 31: 114-6.
  • Wang, P. L.; Chang, K. T. 1991. The pollen morphology in relation to the taxonomy and phylogeny of Fagaceae. Acta Phytotax. Sin. 29(1): 60-6. (In Chinese; English summary)
  • Willut, J.; Marks, G.; Hicks, G. 1977. Naturally occurring mature American chestnut trees in northwest Indiana. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. 86: 127-30.
  • Woodroof, J. G. 1979. Tree nuts: production, processing, products. AVI Publ. Co., Westport, CT. , 731 pages.
  • Woods, F. W.; Shanks, R. E. 1959. Natural replacement of chestnut in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ecology 40: 349-61.