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Castanea sativa (sweet chestnut)

Sweet chestnut is a medium-sized tree that is widely cultivated for its edible nuts contained in prickly husks.
rickly fruits and toothed leaves of Castanea sativa
Prickly fruits and toothed leaves of Castanea saliva

Species information

Scientific name: 

Castanea sativa Mill.

Common name: 

sweet chestnut

Conservation status: 

Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria. Not considered to be threatened.

Habitat: 

Woodland.

Key Uses: 

Food and drink, timber, medicine.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Kingdom: 
Plants
Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Rosanae
Order: 
Fagales
Family: 
Fagaceae
Genus: Castanea

About this species

Roasted chestnuts are a well-known Christmas treat in Europe, and Castanea sativa is widely cultivated for these nuts. Sweet chestnut has a trunk that is often very wide for its height, and is also recognisable by its deeply grooved bark and the prickly fruits that contain the nuts.

The hardy nature of Castanea sativa means it still flourishes across large parts of central and western Europe, including Great Britain, where ancient specimens can be found. Ideally it needs a mild climate, as late spring and early autumn frosts can adversely affect flowering. In forests, the shade does not unduly affect its growth and nut harvest as long as it has sufficient moisture.

Synonym: 

Castanea prolifera (K.Koch) Hickel, Castanea vesca Gaertn., Fagus castanea L.

Genus: 
Castanea

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