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A picture of a Chestnut

Chestnut

Castanea sativa

Also known as

Sweet Chestnut, Kastaiing (Afr.)

Edelkastanie (Castanea sativa) 3 by contribs (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy

7a

USDA zone

-18°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

35m

Max

15m

5m

Min

5m

50 years to reach maturity

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Wild-harvested and grown commercially across Europe. The traditional method of harvest is to allow the nuts to fall to the ground. It splits open at maturity, usually when they drop to the ground. Step on the capsules to split open. Interception of chestnuts in nets either on the ground or suspended above the ground helps to gather.

More images

Castanea-sativa
A photo of Chestnut
Edelkastanie (Castanea sativa) 1
A photo of Chestnut
A photo of Chestnut

Overview

Castanea sativa is a large, deciduous tree species from the Fagaceae family. It is commonly known by the names Sweet Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut, Common Chestnut and European Chestnut, amongst others. This plant produces edible nuts, enclosed in spiny burrs, termed Chestnuts. The female flowers develop into tasty chestnuts, protected by the spiny outer casing, dropping to the ground as they ripen. The leaves turn a glorious yellow before falling in autumn. So not only is the Chestnut a large fast-growing tree with delicious edible nuts that are widely used in the culinary and medicinal applications, but also a handsome specimen to grow in a garden or a park.

Common problems

Susceptible to Chestnut blight fungus and aphids. Young trees can suffer from squirrel damage.

Propagation

Seed

Where possible sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in a seed bed outdoors. Has a short viability and must not be allowed to become dry. Germination in late winter/early spring.

Grafting

Special Features

Drought resistant

Once established, it is very drought tolerant.

Attracts useful insects

Attractive to insects such as bees, as well as micro-moths.

Autumn colour

The leaves turn a beautiful yellow before falling.

Attractive leaves

Attractive flowers

Attractive fruits

Attracts birds

The nuts are an important food for birds including jays and pigeons.

Uses

Culinary

Medicinal

A good source of tannins and useful in the treatment of bleeding, diarrhoea etc. The leaves and bark are anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant and tonic, use to treat various illnesses.

Edible

Ripe, roasted or baked seeds (nuts). Important as a nut or even a flour in confectionery, patisserie & sweet desserts. Also provides food to some animals.