Powerful and majestic, this tree that can grow to great heights and live for thousands of years has been harvested over the millennia for its nuts, chestnuts. Sometimes ignored as fruit trees not worth harvesting, chestnuts have been left to fall victims of parasites. Others cultivate the chestnut to make marrons glacés or chestnut cream.
Castanea sativa is part of the beech family like the beech and oak. It is named for its nut, the chestnut, which was a basic ingredient in many peoples' cuisine, but is less popular today. Its name comes from Sanskrit which suggests origins in the east in Asia Minor where chestnuts were the most popular nut. Both beech and oak nuts are edible, but preferred by animals. This fruit tree species was introduced to Cévennes by the Romans. Along with its initial rapid growth, the chestnut also regrows after cutting, allowing the forest to regenerate at a high rate.
EcoTree plants chestnuts for two main reasons. First, chestnuts are large-diameter trees that, over time, provide many nooks and crannies that can accommodate a range of wild fauna (insects, small mammals, cave birds or even bats). Secondly, chestnuts are less popular and over 20,000 hectares worth have been abandoned. EcoTree is committed to preserving and promoting them. Their wood is valuable and they provide part of that essential diversity our forests need. Many animals are fed by chestnuts.
Chestnuts prefer climatic zones between 400 and 800 meters above sea level. It is a hilly, Mediterranean species that doesn't do well in too calcareous, too compact, or too humid soils, but prefers acid-to-neutral terrain that's dry and cool.
This fast-growing tree needs partial to full sun, though saplings prefer shade. Chestnuts suffer in intense cold and prefer poor, acidic or sandy soil. Chestnuts need to be fully established to withstand very harsh winters.
Chestnut wood is waterproof and pliable and is used to make stakes, flooring, barrels, particle board, pulp, and furniture.
Its natural resistance to parasites, wood-eating insects, natural wear and tear, and bad weather makes it a wood well suited for exterior construction such as cladding and roofing.
Among all wood, chestnut is one of the easiest to work with. Hard yet malleable, its wood provides variety and quality work.
Chestnut nuts are edible. They can be used to make flour or desserts made with chestnut cream. Chestnuts are rich in vitamins, fibre, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium, making them a rural food staple in many places.
The chestnut (Castenea sativa), from the Fagaceae family, was nicknamed the "acorn of Zeus" by the Greeks. For the Celts, the chestnut was considered the guardian of men and animals at the end of each year. Its bare, gnarled roots make it a symbol of virility.
This year for Father's Day , surprise your dad with an original and eco-friendly present: give him a chestnut as strong, handsome, and reassuring as he is!