American Chestnut growing back after its main trunk was killed by the chestnut blight. Chestnut blight is caused by an introduced fungus which infects the outer most growth rings of the tree. After several years of infection the fungus girdles and kills the main trunk of the tree. Before this blight was brought here the American Chestnuts made up a significant part of our forest canopy. It was also a favorite food source and roosting site for the now extinct Passenger Pigeon.

 

The top photo is American Chestnut the bottom photo is American Beech. The two tree's are quite similar in appearance and growth habit. The simplest way to distinguish one from the other is by the leaf. The chestnut has much sharper and deeper serrations along the leaf margin and the leaf tends to be narrower.  The beach leaf margin (bottom photo) has much finer leaf serrations.

 

Photo's taken at Satucket East Bridgewater

 

For more info on the American Chestnut see our links on the Good Eggs page.