The American Chestnut Tree—Never Say Die

July 2, 2006

Just off the John Rock Trail, located off US 276 northwest of Brevard in Transylvania County, NC provides a spectacular view of Looking Glass Rock. Below in the valley is the Pisgah Forest National Fish Hatchery. High on the trail to John Rock survives an American chestnut tree, the third generation of a tree of the parent tree that encountered the chestnut blight in the 1930s and has survived through its offspring.

At the base end of the fallen tree, the rotted out stump is still visible. The parts of the tree below ground are unaffected by the blight. From there, the tree sprouts life.  The second generation tree, sprouted from the base of the fallen tree and grew to 2.5 inches in diameter before succumbing to the chestnut blight. The third generation tree followed heartily.  The leaves of the surviving American chestnut tree caught the rain drops that fell, directing them downward to the roots of the tree, helping continue the process of survival as the tree seeks to sustain itself and store energy to reproduce itself yet again.