The Bangor Daily News reports that the tallest chestnut tree in North America has been found in Maine, not far from the New Hampshire border. It may not be the biggest, because others are fatter, but it’s taller by a good 20 feet over the next competitor.
The American chestnut, of course, was virtually wiped out by blight in the past century; at one time it made up perhaps a third of the hardwood forest in the eastern U.S., but these days the only adult trees you find are isolated enough that the blight hasn’t hit them.
The American Chestnut Foundation is cross-breeding Chinese chestnut trees (which are resistant to the blight) with the few remaining American chestnuts (which look much nicer). I’ve written a number of stories about the project in New Hampshire, such as this one. The work includes hand-pollinating flowers and covering them with bags to keep non-chestnut pollen from adulterating the nut.