Sweet Chestnut Tree Facts and Information

  • Latin name: Castanea sativa
  • Native words: none
  • Ogham sign: n/a
  • Height when mature: 30m
  • Height after 10 years:


Sweet Chestnut Botanical Description:

Sweet Chestnut is a very distinctive tree, hard to mistake! Its leaves are large like a spear blade with saw tooth edges. The outer twigs are angular and five-sided with noticeable breathing pores.

Not flowering until July, the male and female catkins grow together. The famous fruit develops inside a four-lobed case covered with bristles which fall, split open and reveal three nuts. These nuts are oval and usually bear a tiny tuft at the point which is a remnant of the flower's stigma.

Mature chestnuts have very unusual bark. On young trees, it is smooth and brown but rapidly becomes deeply fissured and spiral around the main trunk.

Sweet Chestnuts often become giants with a vast girth; one is on record at 50 ft in circumference at Tortworth near Bristol.


Natural History and Ancient Wisdom of Sweet Chestnut Trees:

Introduced by the Romans from southern Europe, Sweet Chestnut is now mainly found in parks or near grand houses where it was planted for its stately aspect. In medieval times it was valued for its nuts, and plantations were established. There was a chestnut wood in the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire) in 1170.

In 1769 a survey of Kent revealed ancient coppiced and pollarded chestnuts. The poles which grow after coppicing are used in chestnut paling fences which are still commonly used. Their high price means chestnut coppices provide a good return. In 1956 there were 50 00 acres of chestnut coppice in Kent, Surrey Sussex and Hampshire. Longer poles are used to support frames up which hops are grown in Kent It is the seeds of the Sweet Chestnut that are roasted and famously sold on street corners.

Birds and many mammals like them too, but in Britain, most of the ones we eat are imported as British trees often do not produce good enough seeds.


Sweet Chestnut Place Names:

Although not native it was introduced before the English gave their own place names and there are several place names associated with Sweet chestnut trees in England.

  • Chesteyns (Essex).

Sweet Chestnuts

Sweet Chestnut Wildlife Rating:

The seeds are liked by many animals including birds, mice and squirrels.

Out in the wild, they are also likely to be eaten by wild boars and deers.

The tree produces fragrant flowers through spring and summer that will attract a wide variety of pollinators.


Sweet Chestnut Trees Good Points:

  • A magnificent and noble tree for a very large garden, to line a long driveway or a wide avenue.


Sweet Chestnut Trees Bad Points:

  • Mature trees drop large numbers of seed pods which cover the ground.


Want to buy a Sweet Chestnut Tree?

For over 15 years Tree2mydoor has specialised in sending trees as gifts around the UK and Ireland. Our Ancient Wisdom Tree range has a wide variety of native tree saplings that each have a different history and meaning. They are perfect for many occasions and will provide friends and family with years of joy and memories.



Image by 995645 on Pixabay