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SWEET CHESTNUT

Castanea sativa

Beech Family [Fagaceae]

flowers8jul flowers8july

category
category8Trees
category
category8Deciduous
category
category8Broadleaf
status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8yellow
petals
petalsZ0
type
typeZcatkins
stem
stem8round
contact
contactZlowish
sex
sexZmonoecious

16th July 2016, Lune Valley, Sedbergh. Photo: © RWD
A short immature tree with the trunk hidden by lower leaves.


16th July 2016, Lune Valley, Sedbergh. Photo: © RWD
Same young tree from the other side.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Hanging out over the canal...


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Tree covered in Ivy hiding bark, leaving just the leaves visible.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Leaves semi-glossy, wavy along the lines of the veins.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Leaves alternate on thin branches, larger leaves near the end of the branch, rear ones smaller and angled backwards. Leaves start suddenly, widen gradually, then taper abruptly to a point. Forwardly directed teeth.


3rd Sept 2005, Kelsey, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are golf-ball sized spheres covered in extremely sharp spines each pointing in differing directions.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
They fall to the ground when ripe.


14th Sept 2014, Chesterfield Canal, Ranby, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
These two fruits still have spent parts of the female flower attached (the brown catkins).


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
It is impossible to pick one up without having at least a few spines painfully piercing the skin no matter how gingerly you try to pick it up! An extremely effective deterrent against any bird or mammal who may so dare to try and get at the sweet chestnut within.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
The stiff spines emerge and branch at every which angle from several centres all over the fruit case.


30th Sept 2011, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
When ripe the spiny fruit case splits into three releasing the brownish sweet chestnuts.


21st Nov 2013, Great Woolden Moss, Glazebrook, Warrington. Photo: © RWD
The very prickly 'shell' splits into 4 quarters to reveal the fruits within, still with parts of the style attached.


30th Sept 2011, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD


21st Nov 2013, Great Woolden Moss, Glazebrook, Warrington. Photo: © RWD
One nut to crack them all. Just ripe for roasting.


24th Sept 2011, Ranby, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Dead leaves hang from the tree like brown handkerchiefs before dropping off.


19th June 2012, National Trust grounds, Attingham Park, Shropshire. Photo: © Phil Owen
Young trees have a dull silvery-purple bark, but by 60 years is brown with deep spiralling ridges, usually clockwise.


14th Sept 2014, Chesterfield Canal, Ranby, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Like woven tapestry parts of the bark intertwine in the opposite direction to the overall clockwise twist. Perhaps these counter-clockwise parts are instrumental in the outer bark attaining its clockwise twist?


19th June 2012, National Trust grounds, Attingham Park, Shropshire. Photo: © Phil Owen
Deep ridges.


21st Nov 2013, Great Woolden Moss, Glazebrook, Warrington. Photo: © RWD
Aerial leaves in their late Autumn colours.


21st Nov 2013, Great Woolden Moss, Glazebrook, Warrington. Photo: © RWD
Fallen leaves in late Autumn.


Easily confused with other: Beech Trees [a plant of similar name]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The extremely spiny golf-ball-sized fruit with edible (after cooking) Sweet Chestnut within.

No relation to : Horse-Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) [trees with a similar name but belonging to differing family (Sapindaceae)]. The fruits are similar (called 'conkers' for Horse-chestnut) but in the case of the latter are not edible even after baking.

Sweet Chestnut is a monoecious plant with separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are in short catkins, the female mostly inconspicuous.

An ELLAGITANNIN


Tellimagrandin II (aka Eugeniin) is an Ellagitannin. At its heart is a glucose sugar surrounded by five galoyl units, the two on the upper right being joined by a bridging bond. It is almost identical to the ellagitannin Potentillin, the only difference being that it lacks the bond joining the two lowest galoyl groups. It is also present in the non-native Clove plant (Syzygium aromaticum).

The dimer of Tellimagrandin II is Cornusiin E which is found in Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora), from which it obviously derives its name. Cornusiin E parallels the dimer of Potentillin called Agrimoniin, the two are almost identical, apart from two missing bridging bonds between the galoyl groups at the bottom of the diagram.


  Castanea sativa  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fagaceae  

Distribution
 family8Beech family8Fagaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Castanea
Castanea
(Sweet Chestnut)

SWEET CHESTNUT

Castanea sativa

Beech Family [Fagaceae]

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