About this Sweet Chestnut
Also known as the Sweet Chesnut or Marron, Castanea sativa is a species of the diverse flowering plantFagaceae family of beech and oak trees. The trees are hardy, long lived and well known for the edible chestnuts they produce, as well as for timber.
A medium to large sized deciduous tree, Castanea sativaoriginated in southern Europe and the Balkans, and was introduced to more northerly regions as early as Roman times (it is said that Roman soldiers were given chestnut porridge before entering battle). After a period of popularity in monastery gardens, the tree later became a common choice in the UK for landscaping, particularly throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
This tree requires a mild climate and moist conditions in order to grow healthily and produce a good nut harvest. The flowers of both sexes are borne in catkins in late June to July, and by autumn the female flowers develop into spiny cupules containing brownish chesnuts, shed during October. As well as being cultivated for its nuts, this species is favoured for its timber, which is used in the construction of railway sleepers and fencing. Infusions from the leaves of the Sweet Chesnut are used in medicine, to treat respiratory diseases and as a remedy for whooping cough.
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