Castanea sativa Mill.

Fully hardy, vigorous, broadly columnar tree with oblong, toothed, glossy, dark green leaves. It has edible fruit in autumn, with a number of cultivars grown particularly for their fruit.  To 30m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Probably introduced to England by the Romans.  Of significant culinary value and a good timber tree, particularly useful for coppicing.  [Hilliers’].  ‘Chesnut.  Castanea.  This tree grows to a large size; the leaves are a grass green, and the flowers a pale red with yellow stamina.  It is planted generally in Walks, for its beautiful shade; the catkins come out early in the spring, & the fruit is ripe in August and September.  The fruit is much eaten in the warm countries for food; the inward skin of the fruit is said to be good for all kinds of fluxes, either of blood or humours.’  [Blackwell pl.330/1739].

‘We can hardly call the chestnut a British fruit. It is true, that in some situations in the southern counties it ripens fruit, but that is generally so very inferior to what is imported from Spain and the South of France, that no one would think of planting the chestnut for its fruit alone. It is as a timber tree that it is so highly valued in this country.

The following are the varieties that succeed best; but it is only in hot summers that they attain much excellence:—

Devonshire Prolific (New Prolific).— This is by far the most abundant bearer, and ripens more thoroughly a general crop than any other.

Downton (Knights Prolific).— This is distinguished by the very short spines on the husks, and is not so prolific as the preceding.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.66/1860].

[George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.66/1831].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.284/1843].  It was also listed as ‘Chestnut’ in all published catalogues under Plants Bearing Fruit.


Published Mar 04, 2009 - 03:27 PM | Last updated Apr 23, 2010 - 02:15 PM

Illustrated are the oblong, toothed leaves, seed pods and edible seeds.   Blackwell pl.330, 1839.

Castanea sativa Mill. | Blackwell pl.330/1839 | BHL

More details about Castanea sativa Mill.
Family Fagaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe, north Africa, west Asia

  • Castanea vesca Gaertn.
Common Name

Spanish chestnut, Sweet chestnut

Name in the Camden Park Record

Castanea vesca - Chestnut 

Confidence level high