by Marjorie Rachlin
Hint: It’s not a native.
Ten of these trees are blooming right now in Rock Creek Park on the east side of Ridge Road (the road south into the park at St. John’s school and Military Road).
This is a Chinese chestnut, native to China and Korea. All of our native chestnuts were killed off by a blight, but the Chinese species is resistant.
In the fall it will drop green spiky balls about the size of a tennis ball, just like our native chestnut. This is the seedpod that contains the chestnuts. Asian Americans prize them, and you’ll see a lot of people collecting come September. (I tried it, but the chestnuts were wormy.)