Native Tubestock Wholesale Nurseries in Ohio

Chestnut - Chestnut

The Chestnuts are a group of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the genus Castanea , in the beech family Fagaceae. They are native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

The name also refers to the edible nuts that they produce.


Chestnuts belong to the Fagaceae family, which also includes oaks and beeches. The four main groups of species are commonly known as American, European, Chinese, and Japanese chestnuts.

The unrelated horse chestnuts (genus Aesculus ) are not real chestnuts, but are named for the production of nuts with a similar appearance that are slightly toxic to humans. They should not be confused with water chestnuts, which are tubers of an aquatic herb plant in the sedge family of the Cyperaceae. Other species that are often confused with chestnut trees are the chestnut oak ( Quercus prinus ) and the American beech ( Fagus grandifolia ), both of which also occur in the Fagaceae.


Female chestnut flowers
Male chestnut flowers

The name "chestnut" is derived from an earlier English term "chesten nut", from the old French word chastain (Modern French, châtaigne ) descends . The French word, in turn, derives from the Latin Castanea (also the scientific name of the tree), which goes back to the ancient Greek word κάστανον (sweet chestnut). One possible source of the Greek word is the ancient city of Kastanea in Thessaly. The city probably got its name from the trees that grow around it. In the Mediterranean climate zone, chestnut trees are rarer in Greece, as the calcareous soil is not conducive to the tree's growth. Kastania is located on one of the relatively few sedimentary or silicate outcrops. They grow so abundantly there that their presence would have determined the name of the place. Still others take the name from the Greek name der Sardis acorn (Sardis acorn) an - Sardis is the capital of Lydia, Asia Minor, from where the fruits had spread.

The name is quoted twice in the King James Version of the Bible. In one case, Jacob places peeled twigs in the water troughs to encourage healthy offspring of his cattle. Although it may indicate a different tree, it does indicate that the fruit was a local staple in the early 17th century.

These synonyms are or have been used: Fagus Castanea (by Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum , 1753, used), Sardinian nut, Jupiter nut, shelled nut and Spanish chestnut (USA).


Chestnut trees have a moderate growth rate (for the Chinese chestnut tree) and grow quickly for American and European species. Their mature heights vary from the smallest species of chinkapins, which are often shrubby, to the giant of bygone American forests, C. dentata that could reach 60 m. Between these extremes is the Japanese chestnut ( C. crenata ) on average of 10 m; followed by the Chinese chestnut ( C. mollissima ) at about 15 m, then the European chestnut ( C. sativa ) at approx. 30 m.

The Chinese and so the Japanese chestnuts are both often multileadered and widespread, while the European and especially American species tend to grow very upright, when planted with little tapering of their columnar trunks, which are firmly set and massive. When standing alone, they spread out on the sides and develop wide, rounded, dense crowns at the time of maturity. The foliage of the latter two has a striking yellow autumn color.

Bark - sweet chestnut ( C. sativa )

Its bark, when smooth, is of a vinous maroon or red-brown color for the American chestnut, gray for the European chestnut. With age, the bark of American species becomes gray and darker, thicker and deeply furrowed; The furrows run lengthways and tend to twist around the trunk as the tree ages. it is sometimes reminiscent of a large cable with twisted strands.

Male kitten of C. sativa (pale buff) and female catkins (green, prickly, partially obscured by leaves)

The leaves are simple, ovate or lanceolate, 10–30 cm long and 4–10 cm wide, with sharply pointed, widely spaced teeth between which flat, rounded sinuses lie.

The flowers follow the leaves and appear in late spring or early summer or into July. They are arranged in long catkins of two types, both types being carried on each tree. Some kittens consist only of male flowers that mature first. Each flower has eight stamens, or 10 to 12 for C. mollissima . The ripe pollen has a heavy, sweet odor that some people find too sweet or unpleasant. Other kittens have these pollen-containing flowers, but also have small clusters of female or fruiting flowers near the branch from which these sources come. Two or three flowers together form a four-lobed, prickly calybium that eventually grows together completely to form the brown shell or peel that covers the fruit.

Chestnuts can be found on the ground around trees

Chestnut flowers are not self-tolerating, so two trees are required for pollination. All Castanea Species easily hybridize with each other.

The fruit is contained in a prickly (very sharp) cup with a diameter of 5 to 11 cm, which is also known as a "drill" or "ridge". The ridges are often paired or grouped on the branch and contain one to seven nuts, depending on the species, variety and variety. By around the time the fruit is ripe, the ridges turn yellowish brown and split into two or four sections. They can stay on the tree longer than they hold the fruit, but they are more likely to reach a full opening and only release the fruit after it has fallen to the ground. Opening is partly due to soil moisture.

The chestnut fruit has a pointed end with a small tuft at the tip (called "flame" in Italian) and at the other end a hilum - a light brown attachment scar. In many varieties, the fruit is flattened on one or both sides. It has two skins. The first is a hard, shiny, brown outer covering or shell called the pericarpus. The industry calls this the "peeling". Under the pericarp there is another, thinner skin called the pellicle or episperm. The cuticle adheres tightly to the seed itself, following the grooves that are normally found on the surface of the fruit. These grooves have different sizes and depths depending on the type and variety.

The fruit in these shows two cotyledons with a consistently creamy white pulp, except for some varieties that only show one cotyledon and whose episperm has penetrated only slightly or not at all. Usually these varieties have only one large fruit per ridge that is well rounded (not a flat face) and is called "Marron" ( Marron de Lyon in France, Marron di Mugello in Italy or Paragon ).

Chestnut fruits do not have epigeal rest and germinate directly as they fall in autumn, with the roots emerging immediately from the seed and the leaves and stems in the following spring. Since the seeds have no coating or internal food supply, they lose their viability shortly after ripening and must be planted immediately.

The superior fruit varieties among European chestnuts are good size, sweet taste, and easy-to-remove inner skins. American chestnuts are usually very small (around 5g) but taste sweet with easy-to-remove pellicles. Some Japanese varieties have very large nuts (approx. 40 g) with pellicles that are typically difficult to remove. Chinese chestnut globules are usually easy to remove and their size varies widely depending on the variety, although they are usually smaller than the Japanese chestnut.



rank country 1979 2009 2010 2011 2016 2017 2018 2019
1 China 123.000 1.550.000 1.620.000 1.700.000 1,879,031 1,939,719 1,965,351 1,849,137
2 Turkey 46.000 61,697 59,171 60,270 64.750 62.904 63.580 72.655
3 South Korea 80.930 75.911 68.630 55.780 56,244 52,764 53,384 54.708
4 Italy 70.849 50,872 48.810 57.493 50,889 52,356 53.280 39.980
5 Greece 13.160 14.000 20.900 21.500 31.557 36.000 35,230 28.980
6 Portugal 22,224 24.305 22.350 18,271 26.780 29.875 34,165 50.000
7 Japan 65.300 21.700 23.500 19.100 16.500 18.700 16.500 15.700
8 Spain 37.515 10.000 10.000 10.000 16.185 15.623 15.091 25.500
9 North Korea 5.200 10,201 9,628 11.000 12.540 12.540 12.823 12.872
10 France 53.751 8,672 9,464 7,160 8,642 8,406 8,683 7,350
11 Albania - - 5,580 5,450 5.200 6.040 6,226 5,242 5,846
12 Chile - - - - - - - - 2,718 2,108 2,166 2,848
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina - - - - - - - - 1.142 1.154 1.179 2,109
14 Australia - - - - - - - - - - 1.100 1.100 1.100
fifteen Azerbaijan - - - - - - - - 763 634 614 593
16 Bulgaria - - - - - - - - 502 503 515
17 North Macedonia - - - - - - - - 510 396 407 1.439
18 Ukraine - - - - - - - - 218 - - 229 228
19 Slovenia - - - - - - - - 76 63 225 60
20 Switzerland - - - - - - - - 177 180 180 265
21 Hungary - - - - - - - - 218 227 148 200
22 Romania - - - - - - - - 33 31 37 40
23 Austria - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 120
- - world 528,433 1,890,179 1.954.623 2,022,831 2,261,589 2,327,495 2,353,825 2,406,903
Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organization These data may include some "chestnut" production yields unrelated to the Castanea species

It has been a staple food in southern Europe, Turkey, and southwest and east Asia for millennia, largely replacing grains where it would not grow well, if at all, in mountainous Mediterranean areas. Evidence of its cultivation by humans can be found since about 2000 BC. Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe during their various campaigns. A Greek army is supposed to retreat from Asia Minor in the years 401-399 BC. They survived thanks to their chestnut stocks. Ancient Greeks like Dioscorides and Galen wrote about chestnuts to comment on their medicinal properties - and the gas caused by too much of them. For the early Christians, chestnuts symbolized chastity. Until the introduction of the potato, entire forest-dwelling communities that had little access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates. In some parts of Italy a cake made from chestnuts is used as a substitute for potatoes. In 1583 Charles Estienne and Jean Liébault wrote: "An infinity of people lives on nothing but (the chestnut)". In 1802 an Italian agronomist said of Tuscany that "the fruit of the chestnut tree is practically the only livelihood of our highlands", while in 1879 it was said that it fed almost exclusively whole populations for half a year, as a "temporary but" complete substitute for grain ".

Border records compiled under John already showed the famous Tortworth chestnut in South Gloucestershire as a landmark. In Stephen's day it was also known by the same name as "Great Chestnut of Tortworth". This tree was more than 15 m in circumference and 50 m above the ground in 1720. The hundred horse chestnut in the chestnut forests on Etna is the oldest living chestnut tree and is said to be even bigger. Chestnut trees thrive particularly in the Mediterranean area. In 1584, the governor of Genoa, who ruled Corsica, ordered all farmers and landowners to plant four trees a year, including a chestnut tree and olive, fig and mulberry trees. Many communities owe their origins and former wealth to the chestnut forests that followed. In France the Marron Glacé , a candied chestnut with 16 different processes in a typical French cooking style, always served at Christmas and New Year. In Modena, Italy, they are soaked in wine before roasting and serving and traditionally also eaten on the day of Saint Simon in Tuscany. In Romagna, roasted chestnuts are often served with a traditional wine, the Cagnina di Romagna. In Portugal, roasted chestnuts are traditionally eaten on St. Martin's Day.

Its popularity has declined over the past few centuries, in part due to its reputation as "food for the poor". Many people did not want to use chestnut bread as "bread" because chestnut flour does not rise. Some maligned chestnut products such as the "pale complexion" bread written in 1770, or "that type of mortar called soup" in 1841. The global renewal of the past few decades may have benefited from the enormous reforestation efforts that began in the US in the 1930s to obtain varieties of C. sativa to establish that may be resistant to chestnut rot and to relieve the grain supply.

Chestnut production in 2005

The main region in Italy for chestnut production is the Mugello region; In 1996 the European Community granted the Mugello sweet chestnut the status of a protected geographical indication for fruit (corresponds to the French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). It's decidedly sweet, easy to peel, isn't overly floury or astringent, and has notes of vanilla, hazelnut, and, more subtle, fresh bread. There is no unpleasant aroma such as yeast, fungus, mold or paper that sometimes occurs with other chestnuts. The main regions in France for chestnut production are the departments of Ardèche with the famous "Châtaigne d'Ardèche" (AOC), the Var (Eastern Provence), the Cevennes (Gard and Lozère departments) and the Lyon region. France produces over 1,000 tons annually, but still imports around 8,000 tons, mostly from Italy.

In the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, chestnut liqueur is a traditional drink and is enjoying increasing popularity with tourists and in continental Portugal.


Always served as part of the New Year's menu in Japan, chestnuts represent both success and hard times - mastery and strength. The Japanese chestnut ( kuri ) was before rice and the Chinese chestnut ( C. mollissima ) possibly grown for 2,000 to 6,000 years.

During the British colonial rule in the middle of the 18th century until 1947 the sweet chestnut was used (C. sativa) Widely introduced in the temperate parts of the Indian subcontinent, mainly in the lower to middle Himalayas. They are prevalent in UK established hill stations in northern India and to a lesser extent in Bhutan and Nepal. Mainly used as an ornamental tree, they are found in almost all botanical gardens established in the UK and official government buildings (such as larger official residences) in temperate parts of the Indian subcontinent.

China has around 300 varieties of chestnut. In addition, the 'dandong' chestnut (which is common to the Japanese chestnut C. crenata belongs ) an important variety in Liaoning Province.

North America

American Indians ate the American chestnut species, mainly C. dentata and a few others long before European immigrants introduced their stock to America and before the chestnut rot hit. In some places, such as the Appalachian Mountains, a quarter of the hardwoods were made from chestnut. Older trees often grew straight and branchless for 15 m (50 feet), up to 100 feet, with an average diameter of up to 5 feet. For three centuries most of the barns and houses east of the Mississippi were made from it. In 1911 introduced the grocery book The Grocer's Encyclopedia found that a canning factory in Holland, in addition to the more classic "beef and onions" and "green peas" in their ready-cooked combinations of "vegetables and meat", contained a casserole with "chestnuts and sausages" and veal. "This celebrated the chestnut culture that everyone Fall brought entire villages into the woods for three weeks (and kept them busy all winter), and deplored the lack of variety of food on store shelves in the United States.

Soon after, however, the chestnut rot almost wiped out American chestnuts. The discovery of the disease fungus in some of the Asiatic chestnut trees planted on Long Island, New York was published in 1904. In 40 years, the nearly four billion American chestnut population in North America was devastated. Few clumps of trees remained in Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and the Pacific Northwest. American chestnut wood almost disappeared from the market for decades due to disease, although quantities are still available as waste wood. Today they only survive as individual trees separated from others (very rarely) and as living stumps or "stools" with only a few growing enough shoots to produce seeds just before they die. This is just enough to obtain the genetic material used to make an American chestnut tree, with the minimum required genetic input from any of the disease immune Asian species. Efforts begun in the 1930s to repopulate the land with these trees in Massachusetts and many other locations in the United States are still ongoing. In the 1970s, geneticist Charles Burnham began breeding Asian chestnuts back into American chestnut populations to confer disease resistance with minimal difference in genes. In the 1950s, the Dunstan chestnut was developed in Greensboro, NC and makes up the majority of the disease-free chestnuts produced annually in the United States.

Today the demand for nuts exceeds the supply. The US imported 4,056 tons of European in-shell chestnuts valued at US $ 10 million in 2007. The US chestnut industry is still in its infancy, producing less than 1% of total world production. Since the mid-20th century, most US imports have come from southern Italy, with the large, fleshy, and flavored Sicilian chestnuts being considered the best quality for bulk sales and supermarket retailing. Some imports come from Portugal and France. The next two largest import sources are China and South Korea. The French varieties of chestnuts are very favored and sold at high prices in gourmet stores.

A 2005 study of the sector found that U.S. producers are mostly part-time workers diversifying an existing agricultural business, or hobbyists. Another recent study shows that investing in a new plantation, at least in the current Australian market, takes 13 years to break even. Starting a small business requires a relatively small initial investment. This is one factor in the small size of the current manufacturing plants, half of which are between 12,000 and 40,000 square meters 2 is great. Another contributing factor to the low productivity of the sector is that most orchards were planted less than 10 years ago, as well as young trees that are still barely getting into commercial production. Assuming a 10 kg yield for a 10 year old tree is a reliable conservative estimate, although some exceptional specimens of this age have yielded 100 kg. So most producers make less than $ 5,000 a year, with a third of them not yet selling anything.

In addition, so far the plantings have mainly been of Chinese species, but the products are not readily available. The American Chestnut Foundation currently recommends waiting a while longer for the large-scale planting, as the organization and its staff (the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation and many others in education, research, and industry who contribute to the program) are in the The final phase is the development of a variety that comes as close as possible to the American chestnut while incorporating the disease-resistant gene from the Asian species. Given the added benefit of chestnut trees being easily grown organically, and assuming the brands evolve in the market and everything else is the same, home-grown products would fetch higher prices than imports whose high volume is in one market with growing prospects. As of 2008, the price of chestnuts sold fresh in the shell ranges from $ 1.30 / lb ($ 3.30 / kg) in wholesale to around $ 5 / lb ($ 11 / kg) in retail, depending mainly on the size.

Australia, New Zealand

The Australian gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s resulted in the first registered plantings of European chestnut trees brought from Europe by settlers. Over the years most of the were chestnut plantations C. sativa- Stocks that are still the dominant species. Some of them still exist today. Some trees in northern Victoria are around 120 years old and up to 60 m tall. Chestnuts grow well in Southwest Western Australia, where there are cold winters and warm to hot summers. As of 2008, the country has nearly 350 growers producing around 1,200 tons of chestnuts annually, 80% of which are from northeast Victoria. The products are mainly sold to the local fresh fruit market. Chestnuts are slowly becoming more popular in Australia. Due to the increase in commercial plantings over the past 15 to 25 years, a significant increase in production is expected over the next 10 years. By far the most common species in Australia is the European chestnut, but few other species and a few hybrids have been planted. The Japanese chestnut ( C. crenata ) does well in wet and humid weather and in hot summers (approx. 30 ° C); and was introduced in New Zealand in the early 1900s, and more so in the Upper North Island region.


Nutritional value per 100 g
energy 820 kJ (200 kcal)
sugar 11 g
Vitamins quantity % DV
Vitamin A equiv. 1 μg
Thiamine (B 1) 0.144 mg
Riboflavin (B 2) 0.016 mg
Niacin (B 3) 1.102 mg
Vitamin B 6 0.352 mg
Folic acid (B 9) 58 µg
Vitamin B12 0 µg
vitamin C 40.2 mg
Minerals quantity % DV
calcium 19 mg
copper 0.42 mg
iron 0.94 mg
magnesium 30 mg
manganese 0.34 mg
phosphorus 38 mg
potassium 484 mg
sodium 2 mg
zinc 0.49 mg
Other components quantity
water 60.21 g
† The Percentages are roughly approximated using U.S. adult recommendations.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Chestnuts deviate from the norm for culinary nuts because they are low in protein or fat. Your calories come mainly from carbohydrates. Fresh chestnuts provide about 800 kJ (190 kcal) of food energy per 100 g of edible parts, which is much less than walnuts, almonds, other nuts and dried fruits (about 2,500 kJ or 600 kcal per 100 g). Chestnuts contain very little fat, mostly unsaturated and no gluten.

Their carbohydrate content is comparable to that of wheat and rice. As is, chestnuts have twice as much starch as potatoes. They contain around 8% of various sugars, mainly sucrose, glucose, fructose and, to a lesser extent, stachyose and raffinose, which are fermented in the lower intestine and produce gas. In some areas, sweet chestnut trees are called "bread trees". When chestnuts are just beginning to ripen, the fruits are mostly starch and very firm under finger pressure due to the high water content. As the chestnuts ripen, the starch is slowly converted to sugar and the moisture content decreases. When you press the chestnut you can feel a slight "give"; The trunk is not as tense, and a space is created between it and the pulp. They are the only "nuts" that contain vitamin C, at around 40 mg per 100 g of raw product, about 65% of the US recommended daily allowance. The amount of vitamin C decreases by about 40% after heating. Fresh chestnuts contain around 52% water by weight, which evaporates relatively quickly during storage. At 20 ° C and 70% relative humidity, they can lose up to 1% of their weight in one day.

Tannin is found in the bark as well as in wood, leaves and seed coats. The peels contain 10–13% tannin.

The nuts of Castanea alnifolia are mainly eaten by wild animals.

Cultivation, pests and diseases

Climate, seasonal germ cycle

Chestnuts produce a better harvest when exposed to cool temperatures during the rest period. Frost and snowfall are more beneficial than harmful to the trees. The dormant plant is very hardy in Great Britain, up to the H6 winter hardiness of the Royal Horticultural Society down to -20 ° C. Chestnut is hardy compared to USDA Zone 5, which has an average minimum temperature of –29 ° C (–20 ° F) lower than London in zone 9. The young growth in spring is, however, sensitive to frost even in fully-grown plants; Bud burst is later than most other fruit trees, so late frosts can damage young buds.

Trees can be found at heights between 200 and 1000 m above sea level; Some mention between 300 and 750 m altitude, while the famous Hundred Horse Chestnut stands on Etna at an altitude of 1200 m. They can tolerate marine exposure, although growth is reduced.

Seeds germinate in late winter or early spring, but the lifespan is short. If kept moist, they can be stored in a cool place for a few months, but they need to be checked regularly for signs of germination. Low temperature increases the resting time. Sow as soon as ripeness is better, either in cold frames or in open air beds, where they will last 1 to 2 years in place