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Chestnut Blight

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Chestnut blight
Scientific Name:
Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr (formerly known as Endothia parasitica) (ITIS)
Common Name:
Chestnut blight, chestnut bark disease
Chestnut blight symptoms - Photo by Robert L. Anderson; USDA. Forest Service


  • USDA. Forest Service.

    Sometimes reaching a height of more than 100 feet tall with trunk diameters often well over 10 feet, the American chestnut was the giant of the eastern U.S. forests. There were once billions of them and their range stretched from Georgia and Alabama to Michigan, but the majestic tree was gone before forest science existed to document its role in the ecosystem. Notes left by early foresters including Gifford Pinchot, the founder and first chief of the USDA Forest Service, suggest that its ecological role was as impressive as the tree's size. Mature American chestnuts have been virtually extinct for decades. The tree's demise started with something called ink disease in the early 1800s, which steadily killed chestnut in the southern portion of its range. The final blow happened at the turn of the 20th century when a disease called chestnut blight swept through Eastern forests. But, after decades of work breeding trees, The American Chestnut Foundation, a partner in the Forest Service's effort to restore the tree, is close to being able to make a blight-resistant American chestnut available.

Native To:
Date of U.S. Introduction:
First discovered in 1904 (Anagnostakis 1997)
Means of Introduction:
Introduced on nursery stock imported from Asia (Anagnostakis 1997)
Fungal disease of chestnut trees (Castanea spp.) that virtually eliminated mature American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) from the U.S. (Griffin 2000)
Current U.S. Distribution:
Widespread throughout the U.S.

Distribution/Maps/Survey Status


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Chestnut Blight.


European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
Nature Conservancy. Don't Move Firewood.
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.

Federal Government

USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.
DOI. NPS. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

International Government

Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Forest Service.

Forestry Commission (United Kingdom). Forest Research.

State and Local Government

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.



Pennsylvania State University. School of Forest Resources.

Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.