The life of a tree is influenced by the world around it; growth rings tell the story. Within the first few years of life, a tree may experience severe drought or an overabundance of rain. Each of these events is recorded within the tree. Drought and disease, flooding and lack of sunlight, major weather events – all leave evidence behind in the form of ring spacing and coloration. Hidden in plain sight is the accurately recorded history of mankind all around us in the trees.
An example of this can be seen in this new exhibition with the display of both an American chestnut cup and a large redbay globe. Each of these tree species has an interesting and diverse history. The American chestnut tree is virtually extinct in our region due to a blight which causes a bark fungus. The introduction of an Asian chestnut tree brought this fungus to the United States. This species no longer exists widely in nature, and yet on display is an example of the story of a chestnut tree.
The redbay globe is a second example of a species on the verge of extinction. Growing along the borders of swampy lands in the South, redbay trees are being scoured by the introduction of a beetle which carries a different type of fungus. The size of the globe on display is potentially the largest that will ever be seen.comments