Tamme kastanje (Castanea sativa)

chestnut: origin, name, attributes, types, use of wood and chestnuts

After the hot summer it is quite possible that this year we filled in the woods of chestnut husks can find. Usually this is not the case because the chestnut much summer sun takes to ripen its fruit to come. The prickly husks burst open when ripe, and fall down.

We call the fruits chestnuts because they resemble those of the horse. Yet they are not related. Chestnuts are related to beech and oak, and under favorable conditions from 200 to 300 years old. In Southern Europe, we find massive specimens with a trunk circumference of more than 20 meters. The oldest and largest tree in Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna. Actually, the three chestnut trees are grown together. They have a circumference of 62 m and from 2000 to 4000 years old.

Chestnut is native to southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. As it grows in Mediterranean oak forests in areas with hot summers and mild winters, usually on silicate rocks. North of the Alps is an ancient cultivated plant and often unkempt.

It had always assumed that the chestnut Romans to northern Europe have brought. According to new research, he grew up there all during the late Iron Age around 200 BC. Probably the Celts brought the delicious fruits and distribution ensured. That worked mainly in the warmer regions of the Rhine Valley. Later, the Romans chestnut increasingly grow their legions of food. In medieval monastery gardens, he was purposefully planted.

In southern England are very large ones. In North America, the contiguous forests of American chestnut (Castanea dendata) by the chestnut plague for the most part disappeared.

With us you find chestnut trees in the woods, in parks and along old driveways. After a hot summer, we pick the fruit, but usually just sit in the husks unfilled shells.

His name has chestnut probably due to the Greek city Kastaneia in Pontus, a historic region on the coast of the Black Lake, where he cultivated on a large scale. The Romans changed his name to Castanea. The word means sativa cultivated, useful or satisfying.

plant Characteristics
The chestnut is easily recognizable by its long, coarsely serrated leaves. This is known as lance-shaped leaves. These are glossy green on top. The underside is slightly lighter. After walking out of the leaves appear hoofdjesjachtige male flowers on upright like pearls, are long catkins. The female flowers are located at the base of the catkins, surrounded by a green, leafy fruit scaly cup. Beetles, flies and bees are the pollinators of the sweet chestnut. Of the male flowers is an odor that attracts beetles, and the stamp is a drop of nectar sweetener. At the ripe fruit still pale male, spike-shaped flowers are.

The fruits are leathery, shiny brown nuts. Usually there are three meetings in a yellow-brown, gestakelde fairly large fruit cup (cupola). This opens up with four valves. The spines are a defensive weapon against the sort of premature attack by birds and squirrels.

Multi-trunk is a common phenomenon in the chestnut.

Most species are not suitable for small gardens. But there are also small perennial species. These usually have variegated leaves, with growth inhibited.

Castanea sativa ‘glabra’ has very dark, “Asplenifolia ‘deeply incised leaves.

“Argenta variegata ‘surprises with white edged’ Variegata ‘with yellow edged leaves.

Castanea alnifolia is not hardy and is 20 to 50 cm high.

Castanea “henryi ‘Chinese chestnut is resistant to plague.

There are also specially cultivated and grafted chestnut trees that provide larger, usually one per shell.


he wood of the chestnut is finely fibrous and highly resistant to moisture. It is more sustainable than oak and therefore ideal for making furniture, bridges, poles, vines and barrels. In ancient times was called the fruits “of the poor potato. Also, squirrels, jays, crows, mice and wild boar love the ‘chestnuts’. They ensure that the trees in the wild spread.

The Italian peasants were and still make good use of the fruits as food. Even now we know the culinary qualities of the chestnuts to appreciate. The collection and processing of chestnuts (the castagnatura) begins in Italy on September 29th (the day of San Michele) and lasts until November 11th (the day of San Martino).

Bees process the nectar from the flowers to a dark, delicious honey. Because of its high sugar content of fruit long he stays liquid.

In cities such as Vienna, Zurich and Paris during autumn and winter on the streets selling roasted chestnuts, the “maronen’of ‘Maroons’. Also delicious cooked or candied chestnuts.

The seeds of the chestnut millions Italians have for centuries kept alive, especially in mountainous areas. When grain crops failed or marauding armies moved through the country, protected the people against the chestnut hunger and cold.

The seeds are very nutritious (starch, protein, sugar and vitamins Bi, B2 and C above). They are often eaten with sprouts and game dishes. In the French Ardèche is a sweet puree of it (cream of the Maroons). This is used as a dessert or bread.

Tamme Kastanje
Castanea sativa (Latijn)
Sweet chestnut (Engels)
Châteigner (Frans)
Eßkastanie of Maronenbaum (Duits)

Fagaceae – beukenfamilie

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