American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)
In a conservation area at Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. I was limited in getting any shots as there was a locked gate/fence to this area!! Maybe next time!
Over 100 years ago, there were over 4 billion American Chestnut trees growing in the eastern United States. Not only was it used as lumber, but its nuts were a rich food source for many animals.
Unfortunately, ecological disaster struck when Cryphonectria parasitica, an ascomycete fungus, was introduced to the American Chestnut. Thought to have been introduced from Asian trees (in an attempt to produce larger nuts), C. parasitica reduced the dominant tree species in eastern North america to near extinction in a matter of 40 years. As its Latin name implies, C. parasitica parasitizes trees. The American Chestnut is particularly susceptible to this fungus and is quickly invaded via cracks/wounds in its bark. The fungus can further grow through the cambium, eventually girdling (cutting off nutrient supply) and killing the tree.
The American chestnut is a large, monoecious deciduous tree of the beech family native to eastern North America. Before the species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, it was one of the most important forest trees throughout its range, and was considered the finest chestnut tree in the world. It is estimated that between 3 and 4 billion American chestnut trees were destroyed in the first half of the 20th century by blight after its initial discovery in 1904. Very few mature.. more