Friday, August 31, 2012

Let's Go To Chestnut Hills...!

Sometimes, despite all our scientific knowledge, we lose some or all of a particular species of plant or animal.

Some things are just beyond our meager understanding. For a whole population of Chestnut trees to die off is very sad, but at least we do know the cause!

Chestnut Hills

The chestnut blight is a devastating disease that has struck the American chestnut tree and caused the mass extinction of the tree from its historic range in the eastern United States. The disease was accidentally introduced to North America around 1900, either through imported chestnut lumber or through imported chestnut trees. By 1940, almost all of the American chestnut trees were gone. These marvelous trees once grew as tall as 200 feet (61 meters), with a trunk diameter of 14 feet (4.2 meters).

The chestnut tree is known to grow beautiful flowers in late spring or early summer. The blight was caused by the C. parasitica and destroyed about 4 billion American chestnut trees. The fungus kills the tree by entering beneath the bark and killing the cambium all the way round the twig, branch, or trunk. After the blight was first discovered, people attempted to remove the effected trees from the forests, but this proved to be an ineffective solution.

The largest remaining forest of American chestnut trees is named Chestnut Hills and sits near West Salem, Wisconsin. Chestnut Hills holds approximately 2,500 chestnut trees on 60 acres of land. The chestnuts are the descendants from only a dozen trees planted by Martin Hicks in the late 1800s. The trees are located to the west of the natural range of American chestnut, so they initially escaped the onslaught of the chestnut blight. However in 1987, scientists found the fungus in the trees and the blight has been slowly killing the forest. Scientists are working to try and save Chestnut Hills, as there is a strong desire to bring the American chestnut back to the forest.

A large collection of surviving chestnut’s are being bred for a resistance to the blight by The American Chestnut Foundation, which aims to reintroduce a blight-resistant American chestnut to its original forest range in the early 21st century. The disease is local to a range, so it is possible for some isolated trees to exist if no other chestnuts with the blight are within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). A small stand of surviving American chestnuts was found in F. D. Roosevelt State Park near Warm Springs, Georgia on April 22, 2006.

I have to thank the fine folks over at for all this information. Very interesting place, for sure!

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Much too hot to have it out on the patio!


Dizzy-Dick said...

When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, we always took rides in the fall of the year to see the beautiful colored leaves. I remember vendor's set up along the road selling roasted chestnuts. I used to have (maybe still do somewhere) a chestnut still in its porcupine like outer shell. You brought back some warm memories, thanks.

Sixbears said...

Looks like there's a bit of hope for them yet. I'd love to see them come back.

linda m said...

I sure hope they come back. They are so majestic looking.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Ahhh ... the aroma of roasted chestnuts!
We used to gather them as kids and my Dad would put them in the oven of our old iron stove. Thanks for the memories Mr. Hermit!

JOJO said...

When I lived in Morris County, NJ There was a huge chesnut tree on the property. I wonder if it is still there.

I'll bring along some chocolate cake.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Glad I could invoke some happy memories for ya this morning!

Isn't it funny how some memories stay with us for such a long time?

Thanks for coming by this morning, buddy!

Hey Sixbears...
It would be good, indeed, to see them make a huge comeback.

Maybe we can put some of our best knowledge to a good use for a change.

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!

Hey Linda...
Guess that's why so many poems were written about them!

I do hope they make it again.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Hey Phyllis...
I can't remember ever having roasted chestnuts! I've heard that they were good!

Smells can sure bring back some good memories, can't they?

More than happy to invoke some good memories this morning, my friend!

Many thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey JoJo...
That must have been something to see!

Chocolate cake sure sounds good to me! Bring it on!

Thanks, sweetie, for the visit this morning!

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