An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Chestnut Blight

Scientific Name

Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr (formerly known as Endothia parasitica) (ITIS)

Common Name

Chestnut blight, chestnut bark disease

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)

Impact

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.

Chestnut blight

Chestnut blight symptoms

Credit

Photo by Robert L. Anderson; USDA. Forest Service

Find more images

Spotlights

  • USDA Seeks Public Input on Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Deregulation of American Chestnut Developed Using Genetic Engineering

    • Aug 5, 2021
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement to examine the potential environmental impacts that may result from approving a petition from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY) seeking deregulation of an American chestnut variety designated as Darling 58. This American chestnut variety was developed using genetic engineering for tolerance to chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica).

      The Federal Register notice of APHIS' NOI can be viewed now on the News page of the APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services website. Beginning August 6, 2021, members of the public will be able to submit comments through September 7, 2021, by going to www.regulations.gov and entering “APHIS-2020-0030” into the Search field.

  • Southern Research Station Releases American Chestnut Course

    • Dec 1, 2020
    • USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

    • The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was an iconic tree that is now functionally extinct. For a hundred years, researchers from multiple organizations have been working to restore this tree. A free online course – An Introduction to the American Chestnut – is now available. The course covers chestnut taxonomy, silvics, historical importance, ecology, and its demise. A second course in development will cover American chestnut restoration and management.

  • Feature Stories: What it Takes to Bring Back the Near Mythical American Chestnut Trees

    • Apr 29, 2019
    • 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.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Partnership
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government
Academic
Professional
Citations