Monday, August 5, 2013

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut


General Information
Common Name Sweet Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut
Scientific Name Castanea sativa
Sun Tolerance Full Sun
Height 20–35 m (65–100 ft)
Spread 12–18 m (40–60 ft)
Growth Rate Medium
Bloom Time Summer
Color Green
Flower Color White
Type Tree
Native Europe
Classification
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Hamamelididae
Order Fagales
Family Fagaceae – Beech family
Genus Castanea Mill. – chestnut
Species C. sativa

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut
Castanea sativa commonly known as Sweet Chestnut also known as Spanish Chestnut is native to the Mediterranean region. People like it as a source of nuts for food. It was abundant in the Forest of Dean by the eleventh century. As a stately tree it reaches some 30 m (100 feet) in height.
The twigs are smooth or slightly downy, angular (five-sided), bear prominent lenticels and are shiny olive-green to purplish-brown. The roundish winter buds are set alternately on little edges and yellowish-green to brown. The leaves are bronze to khaki when opening and long (often up to 9 in) with sharply toothed margins and veins which continue as bristles beyond the teeth. 
Both male and female flowers lie on a slender yellow spike (that resembles a pipe-cleaner), the females being at its base, they open in July. The edible fruit (‘chestnut’) ripens during October in a green husk (cupule) which is clad in a mass of green sharp spikes. The brown nuts are usually in threes and sometimes infertile.

In young trees the bark is smooth and grayish-green, but with age it becomes grayish-grown and deeply fissured, the fissures at the base of the trunk often forming to several feet. Some trees carry burrs which are found high up the bole. The wood has the strength and durability of oak, with thinner sapwood, but whereas oak has conspicuous radiating (medullary) rays, those of chestnut are very fine and virtually invisible. It is apt to be ‘shaky’ (having radial or circular cracks), or to have spiral grain, but it has the important property of being easily split (cleft). It finds a ready sale for chestnut fencing, hop poles, posts and stakes. When large the wood is often a substitute for oak in furniture and in buildings. 
Chestnut is frequently grown as a coppice crop. It thrives on warm, sandy soils, but is unhappy on most calcareous formations. The tree requires a mild climate and adequate moisture for good growth and a good nut harvest. Its year-growth (but not the rest of the tree) is sensitive to late spring and early autumn frosts, and is intolerant of lime. Under forest conditions, it will tolerate moderate shade well. The use as food and an ornamental tree caused it to be introduced throughout western Europe; localised populations and cultivation also occur on other continents.


Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Full Bloom

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Flowers

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Leaves

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Nuts

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Nut

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Log

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Nuts

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Nuts

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Full Bloom

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut

Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut - Spanish Chestnut : Flowers


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