Plant DetailShow Menu

Castanea sativa

Phonetic Spelling
kas-TAN-nee-uh sa-TEE-vuh
Description

European chestnut is a one of the largest species of chestnut trees with a trunk topping out around 7 feet in diameter and rising to about 95 feet high at maturity. It has a pyramidal-rounded to broad-columnar form, is a native of southern Europe, and is often found in nature in mountainous woods. The fruit of the European chestnut is edible, but it is not commercially grown in the United State due to its susceptibility to chestnut blight. The genus name comes from the Latin for the town of Castania in Thessaly where the trees reportedly grew in abundance. The species name comes from the Latin word sativa meaning sown or cultivated by humans (as opposed to wild).

Chestnuts have been cultivated from this tree for human consumption since ancient times. Today this species is grown throughout much of Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia. Growth is widespread in Great Britain where this tree was first introduced during the Roman occupation. Chestnut blight appears to be much less aggressive in the cool and wet summer conditions in many parts of Europe than it is in the eastern United States; thus, the vast majority of chestnuts consumed as food in the United States are imported from European chestnut cultivars/hybrids commercially grown in Europe (most from Italy).

European chestnut grows well in most soils (sandy, loamy, and clay) including nutritionally poor soil, but prefers well-drained, mildly acid and neutral soils. It prefers full sun, dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought and maritime exposure.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: Leaf spot, and powdery mildew can affect this tree.  Chestnut blight is a serious problem.  Litter from the fruit can create high maintenance.  The pollen has an unpleasant aroma.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#flowering tree#edible nuts#deer resistant#deciduous tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#flowering tree#edible nuts#deer resistant#deciduous tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Castanea
    Species:
    sativa
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is durable and is used to make furniture, barrels, fencing and roof beams. However, it tends to split and warp.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western Asia and Southeastern Europe.
    Distribution:
    Albania, Greece, Turkey, and Iran.
    Wildlife Value:
    The nuts attract birds and other wild life.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Edibility:
    Once a staple food in Europe but now enjoyed as a delicacy. Historically, chestnuts were ground into flour or coarse meal.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 80 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Columnar
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Edible fruit in the form of nuts held in spiny protective husks called cupules. This prickly outer layer deters squirrels and other seed predators from getting to the nuts within them, before they are shed in October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Tiny, dense clusters of monoecious flowers bloom in yellowish-green catkins (each to 4 to 8 inches long) in early to mid-summer. Flowers in the mid to upper portions of bisexual catkins are males, with a much smaller number of female flowers appearing at the base of such catkins. Flowers are produced on the current year's growth and they are very attractive to bees.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The large leaves contain 20 pairs of parallel veins. The leaves are slightly furry. The underside is a lighter green. European chestnut leaves are coarsely-toothed, oblong-lanceolate, 6 to 10 inches long. Leaves turn yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    The bark often has a net-like pattern with deep grooves running up the trunk.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Problems:
    Messy