The American Chestnut Tree
The Chestnut was vitally important to the Appalachian Mountain economy. The trees produce abundant nuts that provided food for people, livestock, and game animals. American Chestnuts provided valuable lumber for building - The tree grows tall and straight, and its wood has an extremely high tannin content, up to 20%, making it highly rot resistant.
In 1904, a fungus, Endothia parasitica, accidently imported from Asia, began killing American Chestnut Trees in New York City. Within 50 years the American Chestnut was virtually wiped out as the Chestnut blight spread throughout the tree's growing range. Isolated trees remain and efforts are underway to grow a blight resistant tree.