Peninsula Trail

Bench 8. Chestnuts and Lookalikes

Note the group of three large chestnut oak trunks with deeply furrowed bark in the woods to the right and uphill of this bench. The tree’s name comes from its leaves, which somewhat resemble those of American chestnut, but without the points. One hundred years ago, magnificent American chestnut trees dominated the forested hills and mountains over much of the eastern U.S. That was until the arrival of the lethal chestnut blight, a fungal disease brought into the country in the late 1800s on chestnut trees from Asia. The blight spread like wildfire, killing almost every American chestnut tree by the middle of the 20th century. However, they continue to re-sprout from old root systems, the sprouts then dying back from blight. Look for a young American chestnut sprout along the inside of the trail.

Find out about efforts to bring back the American chestnut