This is the third and most recently discovered seed producing American Chestnut tree in the Oak Openings Metropark. American Chestnut trees are now rare. Most have been killed by an asian bark fungus introduced from Japan to New York sometime prior to 1904. Until around 1930 this tree was an important source of wood and both animals and humans enjoyed the seeds. This specimen is small compared to the former average of 100 feet, but is larger enough for us to know it is not likely infected. Infected trees sprout from roots and remain as an understory shrub.
The three trees are isolated from each other by almost a mile. It is difficult to know how isolated they are from the nearest infected Chestnuts.
Several organizations are experimenting with hybrids resistant to the fungus.