I hope you get the chance to look at Sara Fitzsimmon's blog about the joint US/China scientific research visit to China. Sara blogged about the journey this past autumn which included Dr. Kim Steiner, Dr. Fred Paillet, Dr. Fred Hebard and Sara Fitzsimmons.
The blog can be found at http://www.personal.psu.edu/sff3/blogs/chestnuts_in_china/.
I was most intrigued by the photographs of keyed out chestnut trees that greatly differed from my expectations. Sara has photographs of Castenea sequinii (know as Mao Li in chinese – literally “the dwarf chestnut”) that exceeded 80' in height. Similarly Castenea henryi (Zhui li) is found in sizes and form that surprised me.
A taste of what you'll find in her blog is found in this quote from Sara
… there were some very large chestnuts up there. In fact, the dominant tree in the canopy was either C. henryi or C. seguinii. Based on our observations, we did not see any C. mollissima at Zehao's plot. But with sizes > 20″ dbh and most trees over 80feet in height, wonderful, straight form and no evidence of blight infection – not even suspicious lesions like we'd seen below on the road – this was a wonderful place to observe chesntut. And is also a site for us to note for continued observation and collection.
This should all be very exciting for ecologists and chestnut lovers in Connecticut, as we may find significant new sources of resistance with material that has ecological qualities more like those we would like to see in our American chestnut.