American Chestnut Foundation Restoration Orchard
Once one of the most abundant and economically viable deciduous trees of the East Coast, the American Chestnut was almost completely wiped out by an invasive fungal pathogen from Europe and Asia, brought to North America in the 1920’s and 30’s.
The American Chestnut (Castanea dentate) stands apart from many other native trees with its distinctive foliage and fruit. The leaves are long and smooth with deep saw-tooth lobes. The spiny, green burrs that form in late summer drop and split open in fall, exposing sweet, edible nuts.
These American Chestnut trees have been cross-bred with a specials of blight-resistant Chestnuts native to Asia. With each generation of seed produced from cross-bred trees, the newer trees are one-step closer to being resistant to the blight fungus, while retaining more and more characteristics of the original native American species. After planting, trees are eventually given the blight fungus in order to study their resistance to the pathogen.
For more information on this project, please visit www.me-acf.org.