Q. I am looking for detailed information on what plants lived with chestnut trees prior to the blight.
The Chestnut tree grows in acidic soil conditions along with blueberries and azaleas, and other natives of our area. The chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica, is an ascomycete, or a sac fungi. Imported on plant material in the late 19th century and first discovered in 1904 in New York City, the blight--an Asiatic fungus to which our native chestnuts had very little resistance--spread quickly. Castanea dentata, American Chestnut, was once native from southern Maine to Michigan, south to Alabama and Mississippi. This tree was the queen of eastern American forest trees but now is reduced to a memory, but isolated trees are still in existence. Currently there remains isolated stumps and root sprouts. Shoots that regenerate from roots may reach 20 to 25' high and are then attached by the fungus. The tree reached heights of 100' and developed massive, wide-spreading branches, and a deep broad-rounded crown. There is a national champion 70' by 70' in Clarkston, WA. There seems to be other American chestnuts in different states. There are some links below for further information and updates on the noble American Chestnut.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service
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