MDC to host free virtual event Oct. 15 to help preserve future of chinquapin trees

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The chinquapin “ghost” tree – 60- to 100-foot relative of the American chestnut -- is nearly extinct, but you can learn what to do about preserving it during Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) virtual event “Ghost Tree: Return of the Chinquapin” on Oct. 15, from 1 to 2 p.m.

The Chinese chestnut disease that has ravaged the more well-known chestnut is also threatening the Chinquapin. Join MDC Regional Supervisor and program instructor AJ Hendershott virtually as he reveals what you can do to help save this American treasure.

Registration is encouraged and can be completed online at The program is recommended for ages 12 and older.

“We used to have Ozark Chinquapins in our region; the nuts are delicious and valuable to people and wildlife,” said Hendershott. “Once you learn about the many benefits, you will want this ghost tree to haunt your property and come back to life. You can help bring this tree back.”

The chinquapin is a medium-sized tall tree, often with large, low branches and a narrow, irregular crown. Its leaves are alternate, simple, and between 6-10 inches long, ending in a pointed tooth with bristles or tiny spines on the edges. Its bark is ashy gray, with shallow grooves and short, flaky ridges. It bears nuts from a spiny bur that is unmistakable from Sept. through Oct. The seed is sweet and edible.

Questions about this event can be emailed to Southeast Regional Education Supervisor A.J. Hendershott at

More information about other upcoming activities at MDC’s Cape Girardeau Nature Center can also be obtained by calling 573-290-5218. Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at

If you are having difficulty registering online, you can contact the phone registration vendor at 1-888-283-0364. Event call center hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This phone number is for event registration only.