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Castanea sativa

Pronunciation: Kas-tan-nee-uh sa-tee-vuh
Family: Fagaceae (beech family)
Common Name: Spanish chestnut, european chestnut, sweet chestnut
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 100'
Width to: 50'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The flowers are in showy spikelike creamy yellow catkins. The fruit is a prickly burr enclosing 1-5 nuts each 0. 5-1 in (1. 3-2. 5 cm) in diameter. There are numerous cultivars selected for nut quality and adaptation to different regions and growing conditions. The finest cultivars yield a burr with a single large, sweet nut, called a marron in french.
Plant Perks:
  • Drought Tolerant
Propagation: Chestnuts are generally propagated by budding or grafting on seedling stock. The seedlings are produced by sowing fresh seeds. Dried seeds may not germinate.
Native to: Spanish chestnut was probably originally native to western asia, from iran to the balkans. It has been cultivated for more than 3000 years, and today it occurs in wild or naturalized populations throughout s europe, n africa and sw asia. The common name probably derives from the fact that the some of the best chestnuts imported into england were grown in spain.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - the spanish chestnut is a magnificent huge shade tree for parks, estates and avenues. It is quite showy in bloom. They are common in england and most of the continent. Chestnuts have both male and female flowers on the same tree but they are largely self-incompatible so you need at least two trees to get nuts. Chestnuts have less oil and more starch than most nuts and so are used differently in cooking. Roasted chestnuts are a wintertime favorite on both sides of the atlantic. Care: spanish chestnut is susceptible to chestnut blight, the devastating fungus disease that was introduced into north america from asia around 1900 and within 40 years had killed every mature american chestnut (c. Dentata) on the continent. Spanish chestnut is not quite as susceptible to chestnut blight as is american chestnut, and apparently the disease cannot tolerate the cooler, wetter summers of northern europe, england and the american pacific northwest. For some reason, chestnut blight kills spanish chestnuts almost everywhere in north america but hardly at all in europe. If you want to grow chestnuts in north america you are limited to blight resistant japanese chestnut (c. Crenata), chinese chestnut (c. Mollissima) and hybrids that are resistant to chestnut blight. Spanish chestnut, once established, is tolerant of drought. It does best in sandy, well drained soils and is highly tolerant of acidic soils. If kept too dry when young, spanish chestnut may remain as a shrub and never grow to tree size.
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Seed Photos
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