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  • Writer's pictureJulie Borneman

Plant Profile: Castanea pumila-Dwarf Chestnut

Castanea pumila, also known as Dwarf chestnut, is a small deciduous tree that is native to the southeastern United States. It grows up to 20 feet tall with a spread of up to 15 feet. The tree is an important food source for wildlife, producing edible nuts that are consumed by a variety of animals, including deer, turkey, and squirrels. In addition, Dwarf chestnut is highly resistant to chestnut blight, a disease that has decimated the American chestnut population, making it a valuable addition to any landscape.

Dwarf chestnut has an attractive appearance throughout the year. In the spring, the tree produces catkins that are about 4 inches long, which eventually give way to shiny green leaves. In the summer, the tree produces small, edible nuts, and its leaves turn a deep green color. In the fall, the leaves turn a brilliant yellow, orange, or red color, providing a stunning display of color. In the winter, Dwarf chestnut loses its leaves, revealing its smooth gray bark. Its small size and adaptability make it a great choice for smaller landscapes, while its attractive appearance and wildlife benefits make it a valuable addition to any garden. Photo: Creative Commons CC0 License: Matthew C. Perry - USGS

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