Castanea sativa (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Castanea sativa Miller

Family: Fagaceae

Vernacular names

  • European chestnut, Spanish chestnut (En)
  • Marronnier, châtaignier (Fr).


Originating from the Mediterranean, now cultivated in mild temperate Europe and subtropical regions. Occasionally planted in United States, Soviet Union, and in mountain areas of the tropics, e.g. in Indonesia at 1400 m altitude.


The nuts are eaten raw, roasted or dried, or prepared into chocolates, pastries, etc. The bark contains tannin. Trees are also planted as ornamentals or to protect against erosion.


  • Tree, up to 30 m tall.
  • Leaves oblong-lanceolate, up to 22 cm long, coarsely serrate.
  • Fruit a spiny 2-4-valved burl (cupule), containing 1-4 nuts.
  • Nuts flattened to subglobose, 1-3 cm diameter, brown.

Many cultivars exist. Other Castanea species with edible nuts might be worth trying in the higher altitude tropics, e.g. C. dentata Borkh. (American chestnut), C. mollissima Blume (Chinese chestnut), C. crenata Sieb. & Zucc. (Japanese chestnut), C. pumila (L.) P. Miller (dwarf chestnut).

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2nd ed. 2 Volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd ed. 3 Volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp.
  • Mansfeld, R. & Schultze Motel, J., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kuturpflanzen. 2nd ed. 4 Volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin. 1998 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen