AUGUSTA — The Viles Arboretum held an educational focused field trip about the ecology of the American Chestnut tree on July 7. The event featured the newly planted trees along with commentary by the American Chestnut Foundation and participants from Smart Eye Care.

Beginning two years ago, this partnership established a small plantation of the newly bred and resistant chestnut trees coming directly from the foundation’s nursery. Along with this earlier planting, full color interpretive panels were installed so that everyone visiting the site can read all about the arrival of a fungus from Asia around 1914 to which the native chestnut had little resistance.

Today, there is now a strain that is resistant to the fungus, leading the way to cultivating trees that may someday re-establish their place in the forest community.

“Come visit us any time, especially to check out our American Chestnut trees. Right now and for the next week, they will be in flower and this alone is worth the time. The flowers of this native tree are like no other tree found in Maine. Insects of all types come to feast on the pollen and nectar and the bloom is without doubt the craziest looking flower we have!,” said Mark DesMeules, executive director of the Viles Arboretum, in a news release.

The Viles Arboretum is located in Augusta on 224 acres of fields, forests, wetlands and with botanical collections from around the world.

For more information, visit vilesarboretum.org, its Facebook page, stop in or call 626-7989.

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