American Chestnut encounters
While I was hiking two weeks ago I came across a littering of Chestnut seeds on the ground up on a ridge in Harriman State Park. Not knowing much about chestnuts except that there are some saplings that grow from old root systems, we bemoaned that their aren't more of these trees, marveled at their crazy thorny seed pods and went on our way (taking only the attached picture of the tree).
I expect that the tree is nothing out of the ordinary, but I wanted to ask some experts what I should seek to observe in order to confirm that fact. The reason I wonder is because most sites seem to say that the remaining Chestnuts seem to be saplings that grow from old stumps/root systems and die before getting too tall/sexual maturity, and this tree doesn't seem to fit that description.
- there's no sign whatsoever that it is growing from an old stump,
- it is at least 30 feet tall,
- its bark looked perfectly smooth (and therefore presumably healthy) and
- it produced a lot of seed-pods (though these were all already looted by animals and a few pods contained underdeveloped chestnuts).
I'll be hiking the same trail this weekend; any thing in particular that I should look for?