The American chestnut is a fast-growing tree best recognized by the distinct shape of its leaves and nuts enclosed in spiny burrs that break open and fall to the ground in autumn.
Before being wiped out by a fungus, the American chestnut dominated our forests and provided food and shelter for animals and people alike. Now, a new generation of blight-resistant chestnuts is being cultivated. As part of the 60-year celebration of the Marquand Park Foundation in 2013. The American Chestnut Foundation donated and planted three newly cultivated seedlings in the park. They all survived but look very different. The tallest tree is very bushy and narrow in shape. The second seedling has grown into a small tree with an elegant trunk and a more rounded crown. The smallest tree still looks like a seedling, is struggling to survive and still fenced in to protect it from hungry deer. For more information about the backcross breeding project of the American Chestnut Foundation, please consult www.acf.org.