Sweet Chestnut

Highfield Park Tree Trail: Number 1

Latin/Botanical Name: Castanea sativa

Range: Native to Southern Europe but widely planted throughout Europe.

Height: to 35m

Uses: Timber is used for joinery and furniture and has similar properties to oak but lighter and easier to work. It is also coppiced to produce poles. The chestnuts can be roasted.

Description: A deciduous domed tree. Bark is brownish grey often spiralled in older trees. Leaves are long, toothed and pointed. Flowers are found in bisexual yellow catkins, female flowers at the base. Shiny red-brown fruits develop in a green, spiky case, usually when the trees is about 25 years old.

Interesting fact: The Romans ground the nuts in to a coarse flour or meal which they then used to make a porridge called ‘polenta’ which was either eaten hot or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf, which was then baked.