CHESTNUT ~ Sweet chestnut is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to southern Europe, western Asia and north Africa.

Common name: sweet chestnut

Scientific name: Castanea sativa
Family: Fagaceae

UK provenance: non-native

Interesting fact: the Romans ground sweet chestnuts into a flour or coarse meal.

Overview: mature sweet chestnut trees grow to 35m and can live for up to 700 years. The bark is grey-purple and smooth, which develops vertical fissures with age. The twigs are purple-brown and buds are plum, red-brown and oval in shape.

Uses: Sweet chestnut timber is similar to oak but is more lightweight and easier to work. It has a straight grain when young but this spirals in older trees. It can be used for carpentry, joinery and furniture. In south east England sweet chestnut is coppiced to produce poles.

The chestnuts can be roasted and used in a variety of recipes, including stuffing