Description: Castanea sativa, also known as Spanish or Sweet Chestnut is a large, fast growing tree with a distinctive twisting bark on the more mature trees. Yellow catkins appear in July, which bear both the male at the tip and female flowers at the base. Rich brown edible nuts known as 'conkers' encased in a prickly shell develop in the autumn. Very important as a timber tree especially for traditional coppicing for railings. Native to Southern Europe and Asia Minor, introduced to this country by the Romans and has been a familiar sight for so long that it is now considered an ‘honorary’ native.
History: For over two thousand years Castanea sativa has been cultivated for it's edible nuts. Historically they were a staple food, either eaten in meals and used as a flour. They provide a good source of starch and energy - Roman soldiers ate chestnut porridge before going into battle!
Growing Tips: For an optimum chestnut harvest, the trees need sufficient moisture and a mild climate - a late spring frost can have an effect on their flowering.
Height and Spread (after 10 years): 8m x 2m