The American Chestnut leaf has been chosen as the signature leaf of Wildcat Mountain Forge. The American chestnut was once the most important tree of the Eastern North American hardwood forest. One fourth of this forest was composed of native chestnut. According to a historical publication "many of the dry ridge tops of the Appalachians were so thoroughly crowded with chestnut that, in early summer, when their canopies were filled with creamy-white flowers, the mountains appeared snow-capped."
The tree was a major lumber producer and the chestnut was a major cash crop for Appalachia. The chestnut blight, caused by a fungus and presumably brought in from eastern Asia, was first found in 1904 in a few trees in the New York Zoological Garden. The blight spread with a vengeance and in its wake left only dead and dying stems. By 1950, the American chestnut had virtually disappeared.
The American Chestnut tree is slowly making a comeback. Wildcat Mountain Forge chose to reproduce the American Chestnut leaf in honor of the impact it had on the Appalachian mountains, its innate beauty and its ability to come back against incredible odds.
All leaves are veined on both front and back to allow viewing from any direction.
The candleholder above is made from an old Yancey Railroad tie.