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Binomial Name Castanea
Taxon Genus
Description Chestnuts are a genus (Castanea) of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, which also includes oaks and beeches. They are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. There are four main Chestnut species: European, Chinese, Japanese, and American. Horse chestnuts are in a separate genus, Aesculus, and produce similar-looking nuts that are mildly poisonous. Water chestnuts belong to the Cyperaceae family and are the tubers of an aquatic plant that taste similar to chestnuts. The four chestnut species produce trees that vary in size from shrubs to trees as tall as 60 meters. The European chestnut averages around 30 meters. Chinese and Japanese chestnuts tend to be wide-spreading, while European and American species are more consolidated. The American chestnut tree was largely destroyed by chestnut blight, a fungal disease, in the 20th century. The chestnut fruit grows in a spiny burr or cupule that splits open when the fruit is mature. The fruit has creamy white flesh and can germinate once the burr opens and falls to the ground. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are high in carbohydrates rather than oil. They sweeten a few days after harvest as their starches begin to convert to sugar. Chestnuts are not self-fertile, and require another pollinator tree within 25 meters. Trees will bear fruit within 3-5 years of planting.
Sun Requirements Full Sun
Growing Degree Days
Sowing Method Direct seed or transplant sapling
Spread (diameter) 1200 centimeters
Row Spacing 1200 centimeters
Height 3000 centimeters

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