Back in the dim past (let's see: Saturday, a week ago) Andrew invited me to go along on his daily 2-hr exercise, this time biking 18 miles on our old beach bikes. Last time we did this I thought I found cranberries, but it turned out not. THIS time I saw a burr in the bike path and screeched to a stop, hardly able to believe my eyes. I circled back and found a chestnut tree dropping burrs and nuts on the path and filled my pocket with as many nuts as I could find, a single handful.
Why so excited? Well..... while this tree grows inside a fence, it seemed to be a tree that has been ignored for years....or forever...on a wild bit of the property. And I have always had a soft spot for chestnuts since trying to grow a Chinese chestnut as a kid (grew beautifully, but did not bear nuts before I left home.) and since my dad pointed out the ten-foot tall sprouts from the roots of blight-ravaged American chestnut forest giants on a hike, the trees still trying to find a way to survive the killer living above ground. AND THIS TREE MIGHT BE AN AMERICAN CHESTNUT!
OK, I'll try to calm down.... but there is at least a ten percent chance, I think. The nuts are the right size, about 3/4" to 1", the leaves are the right shape (I think), and the tree seems to be semi-wild. I think I will send some leaves for identification, assuming I can find a decent sample this late in the year.
And I'll be delighted with even a Chinese chestnut in a place where I can forage. Tasty, crunchy, raw chestnuts!