I'm not old enough to have known what it was like when streets across the eastern United States were filled with American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata). This image from the National Agricultural Library celebrates the beautiful structure of the tree ... and they must have been glorious before the Chestnut blight struck in the early 1900s and in just a few decades wiped out most of the trees.
Now, efforts by the American Chestnut Foundation and Syracuse University to create a chestnut that can withstand the blight are showing some promise. The ACF is focusing on a chestnut that's an American-Chinese hybrid, while scientists at Syracuse University are hoping that a genetic modification will fight off the Chestnut blight.
You can read a full story that appeared in the Sunday New York Times on the twin efforts and Chestnut trials here.
And there's an NYT slideshow here.