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Kentucky Color: American Chestnut Dinosaur

By Billy Joe Fudge

According to many, Adair County's huge American chestnut is Kentucky's most famous tree. It is famous because it just might be the largest American chestnut to have survived the blight that killed every other of the species East of the Mississippi River.

Now, it's fame is poised to spread far and wide. Seasonal Kentucky Forest Ranger Jackie Goodin, retired Ranger Kenny Pyles and Ranger Ricky Parnell joined this ol' retired District Forester on Charles England's farm last week to collect scion material from our old friend. The material has been sent to Penn State University for genetic evaluation. Some of the scions will be grafted to root stock for future evaluation and study.


This tree is scarred and damaged by the blight but has never succumbed to its attacks. There has to be a reason it has survived when some 4,000,000,000 others did not. That reason almost has to be a genetic one. Genetic research has grown by leaps and bounds since we started working with this tree back in the nineties. Now, maybe at long last we will discover its secret to survival. A secret that may just launch it into the "Most Famous Tree in America" category and make it a major contributor to the restoration of American chestnut to its former glory as the dominant species in the Eastern Hardwood Forest ecosystem.

This story was posted on 2022-03-06 09:19:10
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Kentucky Color: American Chestnut Dinosaur



2022-03-06 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
Seasonal Kentucky Forest Ranger Jackie Goodin, retired Ranger Kenny Pyles and Ranger Ricky Parnell joined this ol' retired District Forester on Charles England's farm last week to collect scion material from Adair County's Chestnut tree to send to Penn State University for genetic evaluation. They hope to discover the reason it has survived when some 4,000,000,000 others did not.

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