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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Castanea sativa (Sweet chestnut)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Fagales > Family: Fagaceae > Genus: Castanea

The indigenous distribution of Sweet chestnut extends from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus. It was introduced to Great Britain by the Romans. Chestnut cultivation has involved selecting plants with large, tasty nuts and growing them clonally. The most common use of chestnuts is to roast them whole and then peel and eat them while they are still warm. Before roasting, it is important to cut an "x" into the flat side of the nuts to stop them from exploding.

In southern Africa, chestnut trees are grown in moist regions, usually in gardens and suburbs (e.g. Newlands and Rondebosch suburbs of Cape Town). As far as I am aware, they are not cultivated anywhere in southern Africa for commercial purposes.

Text by Hamish Robertson