Sweet chestnut tree leaves

Tree Identification

This is an example of an American chestnut tree reaching its branches out in the sun over Flint Pond in Lincoln. The long thread-like structures are male catkins, which are not yet showing anthers.

Identifying Your Chestnut Tree – Step 1 of 2

The first step in deciding whether your tree is a possible chestnut is to distinguish it from other trees which can be mistaken for chestnut trees. The chestnut genus “Castanea” is not the same as the horsechestnut family “Aesculus” or the beech genus “Fagus“.

In a second step, you need to learn the differences between the common members of the Castanea family. In Massachusetts, these are the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima), and the Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata).

Beech

If your tree lookes like this, then it is probably a beech tree. These trees have toothed leaves, and smooth gray bark. They also have long pointed buds. The leaf is wider and shorter than the American chestnut tree leaves.

Horsechestnut

If your tree has leaves like this, it is probably a horsechestnut tree. The leaves are “palmate”, radiating from the center, and are arranged in a spoke. The tree is often found planted in towns. It originated in Europe, and it is often what people think of when they hear about “chestnut” trees. It is in a separate family called “Aesculus”.

How to Identify Edible Chestnuts

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There are four different varieties of edible chestnuts: American, European, Chinese and Japanese. The chestnut tree is related to the beech and the oak tree. Chestnuts used to be the main starch staple in Europe until the potato was introduced. When edible chestnuts are boiled the nuts have a similar texture to potatoes, with a sweet nutty flavor. Now chestnuts are not as popular as they once were, but there are commercial farms to supply the demand. Mature American chestnut trees are rare in the wild due to infestation by the chestnut blight in the early 20th century.

To identify an edible chestnut in the wild is not very hard; you just need to know what you are looking for. Impostors such as horse chestnuts and Ohio buckeyes, though similar in appearance, are not related to edible chestnuts; these seeds contain a poison in their raw state, so it is important to be able to distinguish them from edible chestnuts.

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Identify the tree that the chestnut has fallen from as a chestnut tree. It will have long oval leaves that are yellowish green, and yellow in the fall. On the leaves there will be small hooks that curve up all along the edge of the leaf. Ohio buckeye trees have similar leaves, but the buckeye leaves are usually grouped together in a fan of five leaves and turn orange in the fall. A horse chestnut tree has a rounder shaped leaf, and these leaves group together in a fan of about seven leaves.

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Observe how the fruit hangs from the tree. Edible chestnuts often hang in pairs or in threes or clusters.

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Look at the casing the chestnut is wrapped in when hanging on the tree. An edible chestnut is wrapped in a spiny case that is called a burr. The spines are long and fine. If it is an Ohio buckeye, the outer casing has many thick, knobby spurs. A horse chestnut’s shell resembles the Ohio buckeye’s but it does not have as many spurs.

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Remove the chestnut from the burr and look at the shape of the fruit. An edible chestnut will have a shiny brown color, a flat bottom and a point on the top. Non-edible chestnuts will not have this point at the top.

Cooperative Extension: Insect Pests, Ticks and Plant Diseases

Leaf Blotch of Horse-Chestnut

Pest Management Fact Sheet #5094

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
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Introduction

Leaf blotch of horse chestnut is caused by the fungus Guignardia aesculi. This is a common disease which causes browning of the leaves especially during years with wet springs. It is usually not of concern to the health of the tree although young trees and nursery stock may suffer due to complete defoliation.

Environmental Conditions

During the spring, ascospores are released during wet weather. These spores require several hours of wetness in order to germinate and infect leaf tissue. Wet springs lead to a large number of initial infections. As these infections develop they will produce spores which cause additional infections during wet summer weather.

Symptoms

The initial leaf infections appear as water-soaked areas which discolor and eventually turn brown. These lesions may be small or large and may coalesce involving the entire leaf. Often the border of these lesions is yellow. The leaves may become curled and distorted and dry out and drop from the tree. Occasionally reddish spots may be observed on the petioles and fruit. This disease is readily distinguished from drought injury by the presence of the tiny black spore producing bodies within the infected tissues.

Survival and Dispersal

The fungus survives in infected leaf tissues throughout the winter. In the spring, the development of the sexual spore-producing structures (pseudothecia) is timed according to temperature so that the ascospores are mature when the new leaves are developing. When these young leaves become infected the fungus produces a different type of spore (conidia) which are splashed by the rain spreading from leaf to leaf causing additional infections. Where nursery stock is in close proximity it allows for the easy and rapid spread of the disease during wet weather.

Control

Once the leaves have been infected there is no cure. Control depends on prevention.

  1. Rake and destroy infected leaves in the fall to remove the overwintering fungus from the area.
  2. Because dense foliage retards drying of the leaves, nursery stock should not be planted close together.
  3. Pruning of trees to obtain a more open growth habit will help decrease drying times.
  4. At the time of bud break during wet springs, fungicides may be applied to protect developing foliage. Repeat at 7-10 day intervals depending on the weather. If the foliage has been successfully protected against the spring ascospores, no conidia will be produced to continue the infection process and further sprays may be unnecessary. Some fungicides which are recommended are: chlorothalonil (Daconil), and mancozeb (Fore).

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2010

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Chestnut Tree Disease

“Up Tree” is Copyrighted by Flickr user: *Micky (Photos by Micky) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Chestnut trees (Castanea) are deciduous trees in the beech family (Fagaceae). The four major species of chestnut trees are the American chestnuts, European chestnuts, Japanese chestnuts and Chinese chestnuts. Chestnut tree leaves are simple and ovate, and the flowers bloom in spring and summer. The chestnut tree produces clusters of edible nuts. Chestnut trees are susceptible to a number of diseases.

Chestnut Blight

Chestnut blight (Chryphonectria parasitica) is a serious fungal disease that almost wiped out the American chestnut species. This disease first appears as large cankers on the branches. The orange or yellow fungal spores, called pycnidia, spread throughout the limbs and then enter into the trunk through wounds or bark creases. The foliage above the infected area dries out and dies. Chestnut blight eventually kills the entire tree. The chestnut blight fungus is spread to other trees by insects, rain and wind.

Phytophthora Root Rot

Phytophthora root rot is a serious chestnut tree disease caused by excess moisture. Phytophthora root rot causes infected leaves to dry up and turn a dull yellow or green color. Infected trees often develop dark areas in the bark around the upper roots and crown. Dark sap or gum may ooze from the infected area. This disease often kills young chestnut trees with small root systems and crowns. Phytophthora species are pathogens that inhabit the soil and spread through run-off water and splashing rain.

Leaf Diseases

Chestnut trees suffer from several fungal diseases that attack the leaves. Leaf spot disease (Mycosphaerella maculiformis) initially appears as small white spots that turn dark brown and enlarge as the disease progresses. Leaf blotch disease (Guignardia aesculi) causes large brown spots to form on the infected leaves. Severe leaf blotch infections can cause premature leaf drop. Leaf spot and leaf blotch pathogens overwinter in fallen leaves and then infect chestnut trees during the spring when the trees are forming new leaves.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuliginea) is a common chestnut tree disease. Powdery mildew first forms small, white spots that enlarge and coalesce, eventually creating a continuous mat of mildew. The mildew looks like a gray or grayish-white coating of dust on leaf surfaces. Powdery mildew can stunt or distort an infected chestnut tree’s leaves, fruit and buds. The powdery mildew disease usually strikes late in the growing season and is most prevalent in humid environments.

Maintenance

Proper care can make chestnut trees less susceptible to common diseases. Trees should be planted in sunny locations with good drainage. The trees must be spaced far enough apart to allow for proper air ventilation. Chestnut trees should be irrigated with low-angle sprinklers to avoid wetting the lower branches and the trunk. The soil should never be saturated to the point there is standing water around the trees’ bases. Fallen leaves should be raked up and disposed of on a regular basis.

How Chestnut Trees Talk to Us

There are many things a chestnut tree will tell you if you know how to listen. Chestnut trees talk in simple terms like, “I am hungry”, “I am thirsty”, and “I am not feeling so well”. With chestnut trees we do not have “Read my lips”, but “Read my leaves” and reading a leaf is what we will do.
Part of the training an Emergency Medical Technician receives is how to determine if a patient is “Sick or not sick” from just a quick look. Chestnut trees can also be treated in the same way from just a few feet away determine “Sick or not sick”. The good news is a chestnut tree’s sudden death is defined in weeks or months not minutes or hours. So by just walking by a chestnut tree and taking a quick look at the leaves we will be able to determine “Sick or not sick”.
Chestnut trees tell us a lot of how they are feeling by their leaves and their bark. Usually, when there is a serious problem with a chestnut tree the leaves will show the first signs. As the problem gets worse, the bark on the tree will have signs telling us “I am feeling real bad, like I might die”. If the bark is showing signs then it may be too late to do much to save the tree. We will take a look at both healthy trees and sick trees. Ever have someone say to you, “You are not looking so good, are you feeling sick?” Well, with chestnut trees, looking good is having vigor and good looking leaves. Generally speaking, a sick chestnut tree will not produce nuts. If your chestnut tree isn’t producing nuts with kernels, then it might be stressed by the growing conditions.
So let’s start with what to look for in a healthy chestnut tree. During the growing season we have both leaves and bark to examine. While dormant, only bark is present for examination and can only help us determine if the chestnut tree is very sick or dead. The picture below is of a Bisalta #3 chestnut tree at bloom time (mid July). This tree is saying “I am healthy, full of energy, and look at me grow”. These traits can be visually observed in the quality and size of the male flowers (catkins), the size, color, shape of the leaves. The terminal growth, that is the new growth at the end of the branches, is more than 12 inches. Not all chestnut tree cultivars look like this so the evaluation of health should be compared with a like chestnut cultivar.

Notice the bottom of the leaf is a lighter color than the top of the leaf. The amount of difference in color varies between chestnut cultivars. On some cultivars, like this one, the color difference is slight but noticable. The next picture is of a Colossal chestnut tree. Notice the bottom of the leaf is much lighter in color than the top.

Also, take a good look at the amount of leaf curl. The Colossal chestnut leaf curls when the summer sun is intense. Other chestnut cultivars do the same leaf curl, but usually not as much as the Colossal does. In other plants when the leaf curls like this, it is a possible indication of water stress, not so with chestnut trees. When the leaf curls like in these pictures it is normal and healthy.
If we kind of just look at an overall perspective of these top two photos, we see leaves that are complete without munch marks or holes in them, the color is a consistant color across the entire leaf and each leaf on the branch looks just about the same as all the others. These are examples of what you would look for when checking the health of your chestnut trees. Next, we will look at photos of chestnut trees that do have health issues.
One of the most common condition found in chestnut orchards is nitrogen deficiency. The problem with just looking at the chestnut leaf is that some other conditions can look just about the same. Here is some examples. The picture below is of a Colossal chestnut tree deficient in nitrogen. Notice the yellowing at the ends of the smaller leafs. Difficult to notice in this photo but the size of the leafs are about 60 percent of what a healthy Colossal leaf would be.

This next picture shows a chestnut tree with boron damage. The orchardist applied a foliar spray of boron to the chestnut tree. The application exceeded what the chestnut tree could handle. The resulting damage looks like what this next picture illustrates. If you apply boron as a foliar spray then you may end of with your chestnut leafs looking like this:

In both the picutres of the nitrogen deficency and excessive boron the leaf edges have yellowing and even some browning. In a way it could be difficult to tell the difference if you did not know the history of what the chestnut tree was exposed to. This next picture is of a chestnut tree that is on its death bed. The tree has root problems that are showing up in the leaves. Since the roots are breaking down, the small leaves appear to be doing ok, but the the large leaves are brown over 50% of the leaf area. About 3 weeks after this photograph was taken the tree was dead. The culprit, in this case it was phytophthora, also known as root rot.

Next we turn our attention to the base of the chestnut tree where we find the graft on a grafted chestnut tree. Almost all plants that are propagated using grafting of a root stock and the scion wood have the potential of graft union failure. Graft union failure can show up on chestnut trees many years after the graft was formed. A failure at the graft union can have a number of different indicators such as top die back and underperforming growth observable in undersized or deformed leaves.
The picture also shows that its just not the leaves we need to be observing, we also need to be looking over the entire stucture of the tree such as the branches, the trunk, and the bark. The bark above the graft is one color and below the graft it is a different color. Aside from the bark color having differences, the size of the trunk is different sizes above and below the graft. As you can see, being able to recognize potential problems starts with coming to know what a good healthy chestnut tree should look like.

Dehydration is a problem for many living organisms, the such likes of plants, animals, and people too. Dehydration starts with a simple “I am thirsty” progressing through “Would someone just give me a drink of water”, and without intervention, dehydration can result in the death of the organism. Pictured below is a chestnut tree saying, “Would someone give me some water, I feel like I might die”. The reality of the situation is the chestnut tree is suffering from water stress induced by drought during the growing season. Chestnut trees are drought resistant. The tree pictured here is a Colossal that will drop all its burrs and some of its leaves because of the water stress. The tree went dormant early without producing any nuts. Rains did come before the end of the growing season providing the tree with enough water that the tree made a full recovery next growing season.

There are two important lessons presented here. The first lesson is that an orchardist needs to take time to look over the trees in the orchard, observing the leaves and looking for possible problems. The second lesson is keeping history. When a patient arrives at the doc’s office, the doc asks all kinds of questions about what is happening, what happened in the recent past, and for new patients the doc asks for a complete history.
When a problem is presented to the doc, the doc will often order some lab tests. With chestnut trees our lab tests consist of leaf samples and soil samples. The results of the lab test will likely provide enough information to find a way to correct the presenting problem. If your chestnut tree orchard is facing a problem then get the lab tests done, its worth the money and cuts out a lot of guessing.
Taking time to walk through the orchard is a great stress reducer. Take the walk often, express your thanks for at least one thing you can be thankful for and your life will be a lot happier.

Sweet Chestnut Leaves Stock Photos and Images

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  • New sweet chestnut leaves
  • Sweet Chestnut Leaves Castanea sativa Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve Kent UK golden autumn colours green yellow
  • Spanish chestnut – sweet chestnut – leaves in autumn colours – colourful foliage (Castanea sativa)
  • Castanea sativa sweet chestnut leaves and nuts
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves in the autumn in the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire UK
  • Serrated edges of Sweet Chestnut leaves showing hooks and veins. Autumn leaves stacked together on edge and back lit.
  • Sweet chestnut Leaves (Castanea sativa) close up. Late Summer. Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter, Devon, UK.
  • A woodland floor in autumn with sweet chestnut leaves and split spiny nut cases.
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves, castanea sativa
  • Autumn sweet chestnut leaves Bow Brickhill England
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves in autumn Rishbeth Wood Thetford Forest
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves (Castanea sativa) showing golden autumn colours. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves on a woodland floor. Horner Hill in Exmoor near Luccombe, Somerset, England.
  • Sweet chestnut leaves (Castanea sativa)
  • Sweet chestnut leaves (Castanea sativa)
  • Close up of a young foxglove plant growing through the autumn leaves which are brown sweet chestnut leaves.
  • A moss covered dry stone wall is covered in spruce needles and sweet chestnut leaves in a mixed woodland, Brown Clee Hill
  • Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) leaves, England, UK
  • Two sweet chestnut leaves
  • Sweet chestnut leaves against dark background
  • Sunlight through sweet chestnut leaves in Comer Wood, Shropshire.
  • Spanish chestnut – sweet chestnut – leaves in autumn colours – colourful foliage (Castanea sativa)
  • Sweet chestnut leaves forming leaf litter
  • Leaves / foliage of Sweet Chestnut / Castanea sativa.
  • Sweet Chestnut leaves, with autumn sunlight filtering through.Castanea stavia.
  • Sweet chestnut Leaves (Castanea sativa) close up. Late Summer. Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter, Devon, UK.
  • Autumnal Sweet Chestnut leaves on the tree
  • Sweet chestnuts lie on the footpath in King’s Wood, Ashford, Kent
  • Fresh sweet chestnut leaves just emerging in Spring UK
  • Sweet Chestnut Leaves, Castanea sativa, Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve, Kent UK, golden autumn colours, green, yellow
  • Backlit Sweet Chestnut leaves (Castanea sativa) in autumn colours. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sweet chestnut / marron tree (Castanea sativa) leaves in autumn
  • AESCULUS FLAVA Horse-chestnut chestnut Sweet Buckeye North-Amerika feature tree fruit ripe plant leaf leaves green brown horse
  • Ascot, Berkshire, England: sweet chestnut leaves in autumn in a wood
  • Sweet chestnut tree with nutshells and leaves fagaceae castanea sativa
  • Young boletus fungi in moss surrounded by sweet chestnut leaves and fruit.
  • Fruit and leaves of the sweet or Spanish chestnut (Castanea sativa)
  • Two sweet chestnut leaves
  • Green husks and leaves of sweet chestnut tree
  • France, Cotes d’Armor, leaves of chestnut (Castanea sativa)
  • Ripe Sweet Chestnuts in spiky husks with green Sweet Chestnut leaves
  • Castanea sativa, sweet chestnut leaves in autumn fall showing subtle color variation of yell green
  • Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) with spikey ripening fruits – marron & châtaigne in French, castaña (Spanish), Castagna (Italian), Kastanie (German).
  • Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut autumn leaves
  • Autumn colour on the woodland floor at Horner Hill in Exmoor, England, United Kingdom.
  • Autumnal Sweet Chestnut leaves on the tree
  • AUTUMNAL SWEET CHESTNUT TREE WITH GOLDEN LEAVES AND A BLUE SKY
  • Sweet Chestnut – Castanea sativa Leaves & Chestnuts on Tree
  • Sweet Chestnut Tree leaves Castanea sativa & Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea on woodland floor Kent UK
  • Sweet Chestnut leaf (Castanea sativa) with frost covered edges. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sweet chestnut / marron tree (Castanea sativa) leaves in autumn
  • AESCULUS FLAVA Horse-chestnut chestnut Sweet Buckeye North-Amerika feature tree fruit ripe plant leaf leaves green brown horse
  • Back lit Sweet chestnut Leaves in a woodland canopy
  • Sweet chestnut tree with nutshells and leaves fagaceae castanea sativa
  • Small basket of wild mushrooms surrounded by brambles, blackberries, sweet chestnut leaves and fruit.
  • Fruit and leaves of the sweet or Spanish chestnut (Castanea sativa)
  • Chestnut tree with autumn leaves
  • Basket of chestnuts and sweet potatoes with dry leaves
  • Sweet Chestnut tree – mature green fruit husks and leaves – Studley Royal Park, Ripon, North Yorkshire, UK
  • Flowers and leaves, sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), Burgenland, Austria
  • Castanea sativa, sweet chestnut leaves in autumn fall showing subtle color variation of yell green
  • Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) with spikey ripening fruits – marron & châtaigne in French, castaña (Spanish), Castagna (Italian), Kastanie (German).
  • Autumn leaves Castanea sativa sweet chestnut tree
  • Chestnut leaves and catkins isolated on white
  • Autumnal Sweet Chestnut leaves on the tree
  • fresh green sweet chestnut with leaves on wood
  • Sweet Chestnut – Castanea sativa Leaves & Chestnuts on Tree
  • Sweet Chestnut Tree Castanea sativa looking up main bark to branches & leaves in upper canopy Kent UK
  • Fallen Sweet Chestnut leaf (Castanea sativa) covered in frost. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sweet chestnut / marron tree (Castanea sativa) leaves in spring
  • AESCULUS FLAVA Horse-chestnut chestnut Sweet Buckeye North-Amerika feature tree fruit ripe plant leaf leaves green brown horse
  • Sweet chestnut
  • Yellow leaves of Spanish chestnut, European chestnut, sweet chestnut , Fagaceae, Castanea sativa
  • Castanea sativa. Fallen Sweet chestnut tree leaves in autumn. UK
  • Nut shells on a sweet chestnut tree, Castanea sativa, AKA Spanish Chestnut, Portugese Chestnut
  • Chestnut tree with autumn leaves
  • Green chestnut fruit and leaves on a tree in autumn
  • Single Chestnut on Forest Floor
  • Flowers and leaves, sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), Burgenland, Austria
  • Castanea sativa, sweet chestnut leaves in autumn fall showing subtle color variation of yell green
  • Chestnut tree / Castanea sativa with spikey ripening fruits – marron & châtaigne in French, castaña (Spanish), Castagna (Italian), Kastanie (German).
  • Castanea sativa sweet chestnut tree fruit and leaves
  • Leaves of a Sweet Chestnut tree (castanea sativa) in autumn.
  • Autumnal Sweet Chestnut leaves on the tree
  • fresh green sweet chestnut with leaves and fruits on wood
  • Sweet Chestnut tree – mature green fruit husks and leaves – Studley Royal Park, Ripon, North Yorkshire, UK
  • Young Sweet Chestnut Trees Castanea sativa looking up trunk bark of tree towards leaves in canopy Kent UK
  • Group of Sweet Chestnuts and leaves (Castanea sativa) on the ground and covered in frost. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) tree, close-up of leaves in spring
  • AESCULUS FLAVA Horse-chestnut chestnut Sweet Buckeye North-Amerika feature tree fruit ripe plant leaf leaves green brown horse
  • Sweet chestnut
  • Yellow leaves of Spanish chestnut, European chestnut, sweet chestnut , Fagaceae, Castanea sativa
  • Castanea sativa. Fallen Sweet chestnut, oak, and acer tree leaves in autumn. UK
  • Nut shells on a sweet chestnut tree, Castanea sativa, AKA Spanish Chestnut, Portugese Chestnut
  • Chestnut tree with autumn leaves
  • Fresh and withered Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) leaves, closeup, Divonne les Bains, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
  • chestnut branch with flowers and leaves isolated on white
  • Branches and leaves of a Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), Genal river valley, Málaga province, Andalusia, Spain
  • Castanea sativa, sweet chestnut leaves in autumn fall showing subtle color variation of yell green
  • Chestnut tree / Castanea sativa with spikey ripening fruits – marron & châtaigne in French, castaña (Spanish), Castagna (Italian), Kastanie (German).

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Castanea sativa – Sweet Chestnut

Phylum: Magnoliophyta – Class: Magnoliopsida – Order: Sapindales – Family: Betulaceae

The Romans probably brought Sweet Chestnut (also known as Spanish Chestnut) trees to Britain, and in the south of England and Wales, where the climate is warm enough for self-sown seeds to germinate, these stately trees have become naturalised in the wild; elsewhere they are planted in parks a nd large gardens for their ornamental value rather more than for the fruits, which are popular at Christmastime.

The wood from Chestnut trees is still sometimes used for fencing, mainly on smallholdings, and coppiced Chestnut shoots are a traditional source of poles for hop growing.

In wintertime it is not at all easy to distinguish a young Sweet Chestnut from many of the other saplings and young trees in mixed woodland (even though the fallen leaves are slow to decay and are quite distinctive… but which tree did they fall from?), because the bark has no obvious discriminating features until the tree is at least twenty years old, when the first surface fissures begin to appear.

There is no such problem with mature Sweet Chestnut trees, however; the bark is extremely fibrous and splits in a spiral pattern around the trunk of the tree.

Ancient Sweet Chestnut trees have huge trunks with deep fissures. Their branches spread widely and sometimes descend almost to ground level, providing wonderful shelter for animals and for people during heavy rainstorms.

Leaves of the Sweet Chestnut
Male and female flowers
Prickly seed cases
Sweet Chestnut fruits

Long (male) catkins appear in early summer, and later the fruits develop from the female flowers.

The nuts, which are protected inside spiny bracts, ripen in late autumn and are at their best in December. (Roast chestnuts are traditionally associated with log fires and turkey stuffing at Christmastime.)

Fungi associated with Sweet Chestnut trees

Although the Sweet Chestnut is reported to be an ectomycorrhizal tree, few of the associated fungi from its native lands seem to have opted to join it in Britain and Ireland. There are, however, plenty of leaf-litter mushrooms to be seen under Sweet Chestnuts as well as a few bracket fungi that seem to be particularly partial to its bark and timber.

One of the bracket fungi commonly seen on Sweet Chestnuts (although they are even more frequent on oaks), mainly on standing trees but also occasionally on fallen trunks, is the Beefsteak Fungus, Fistulina hepatica (above). This striking bracket fungus feeds on the dead heartwood, and so perhaps strictly it should be classed as saprophytic rather than parasitic.

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