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Tree  Sweet Chestnut Trees

Sweet Chestnut Branch - Photo  Copyright 2001 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
To help you identify different trees get the colourful fold out chart called "Tree Name Trail" from the Nature Shop - click here

Latin name: Castanea sativa

Size: Grows to around 30m high.

Distribution: Found throughout the UK, less common in Scotland.

Flowering months: June to July

Special features: The sweet chestnut is a native tree of Anatolia (Asia Minor), which was probably introduced to Britain by the Romans.

The bark of the tree is fairly smooth when young, but as the tree ages and grows, it splits into wide spiralling grooves. It's large lower branches hang downwards. The dark green, glossy leaves (See Picture) grow to about 30cms long.

In early summer the tree is covered with long yellow catkins. At the base of each catkin is the female flower which develops into the shiny brown chestnut.

The nut is encased in a prickly, leathery casing which opens in autumn, allowing the nuts to fall. They don't stay on the ground for long, as the squirrels collect them for their winter food store.


Did You Know?
The nuts of the sweet chestnut are edible, in fact the Romans fed their legions on sweet chestnut porridge.




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