Nominated by Charlie Marcus.
This is a large (for the species) Allegheny Chinkapin, Castanea pumila. To my knowledge, this is the closest living native relative of the magnificent American Chestnut, which once had a ubiquitous presence throughout the southeast. The photo was taken in early May, when the distinctive white catkins characteristic of the genus were at their peak. Imagine, if you will, what it was like to stand atop a hill in the southern Appalachians over 100 years ago at this time of year and look across the viewscape. You would have seen a sea of white created by an expanse of mature chestnut trees. Now, we have this smaller species as a remnant, which I wish was planted more frequently. In addition to the showy Spring catkins, the tree produces small nuts in the Fall that make good wildlife mast. This tree is located within three miles of my house in Tallahassee, FL. Height is approximately 30 feet tall and diameter is 14 inches just below the main fork. I hereby nominate it for the American Grove Great American Tree Contest.