Welcome to the Web Site of the Blue Ridge Wildflower Society
Based in Roanoke, VA
Chestnut Blight Spreading
The United States Department of Agriculture warns owners of chestnut timber to consider salvaging their trees immediately for use as poles or in manufacturing tannic acid. There is a renewed spread of chestnut blight, a fungus growth which is spreading rapidly across the southern United States. By mid-summer, 2004, all but 14 of the chestnut producing counties of Virginia have had at least 80% or more of their trees infected or killed. Several other states have experienced similar destruction according to the Maryland Native Plant Society.
A Glimmer of Hope
Mike Sawyer wrote, in the Bulletin, of the memories which were lost when the Appalachian chestnut forests were lost.
The American Chestnut Foundation has just confirmed the existence of an American chestnut, Castanea dentata, with a circumference of 36", in Kentucky. To their knowledge this is the largest specimen east of the Mississippi. Washington state has the two largest known specimens, with circumferences of 75 and 79 inches.
It seems almost impossible that we will ever again see forests filled with even tiny saplings of these magnificent trees. We know few chestnut saplings live to become young adults, unfortunately. The existence of every mature tree, however, does give us cause to rejoice. It also gives us cause to be even more alert for we are the guardians of our world.