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chestnut,name for any species of the genus Castanea, deciduous trees of the family Fagaceae (beechbeech,
common name for the Fagaceae, a family of trees and shrubs mainly of temperate and subtropical regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The principal genera—Castanea (chestnut and chinquapin), Fagus (beech), and Quercus
..... Click the link for more information. or oak family) widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. They are characterized by thin-shelled, sweet, edible nuts borne in a bristly bur. The common American chestnut, C. dentata, is native E of the Mississippi but is now nearly extinct because of the chestnut blight, a disease from Asia caused by the fungus Crypthonectria parasitica, and the clear-cutting that resulted when lumber companies anticipated the destruction of chestnut forests by the fungus. The American chestnut was an important source of timber. Efforts have been made to breed a type of American chestnut resistant to the disease, by crossing it with the blight-resistant Chinese and Japanese chestnuts, in order to replace the old chestnut forests, and significant plantings of the largely American hybrids have been made. The dead and fallen logs were long the the leading domestic source of tannin. Chestnut wood is porous, but it is very durable in soil and has been popular for fence posts, railway ties, and beams. Edible chestnuts are now mostly imported from Italy, where the Eurasian species (C. sativa) has not been destroyed. The chinquapinchinquapin
[Algonquian], name for certain American species of the chestnut genus of the family Fagaceae (beech family) and for a related species, the golden chinquapin (Castanopsis chrysophylla), an evergreen of the Pacific states.
..... Click the link for more information. belongs to the same genus. Chestnuts are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Fagales, family Fagaceae.
an arboreal plant of the genus Castanea of the family Fagaceae. There are 14 known species, distributed in North America, Japan, China, and the Mediterranean region. In the USSR, one species is found on the Black Sea Shore of the Caucasus and in Transcaucasia. The European, or Spanish, chestnut (Castanea sativa) is cultivated. The chestnut tree is large (height, up to 35 m; diameter, 2 m) and long-lived (500 and more years). It has a large, spreading crown and a strong, deep root system. The flowers, which are gathered into catkins, are small, unisexual or bisexual, and cross-pollinating. The fruits are nuts (length and width, 1.5– cm), with a delicate grayish brown woody pericarp. Three nuts are usually found in each involucre. The tree begins to fruit after 5–10 years. When the tree is 50 years old, it produces at least 70 kg of nuts (up to 1 ton per hectare).
The chestnut is demanding in terms of light, warmth, and moisture. The tree grows best on brown semihumid acid soils. Chestnut trees are cultivated in Italy, Spain, France, and the USA. In the USSR, they are grown in the Caucasus, the Crimea, Transcaucasia, and Moldavia. The nuts are edible in fresh and cooked form. They are used as an ersatz coffee and as an ingredient in candy. The chestnut kernel contains more than 60 percent starch, up to 17 percent sugar, 8– percent nitrogen compounds, and over 2 percent fat. Chestnut wood, which is of very high quality is valued in wood-working industries and is also used in construction. It is resistant to rot. The wood, the bark, and the nutshells, which are rich in tanning and dyeing substances, are used in the production of textile dyes. There are several types of chestnut trees; they differ in size, taste of the nut, and rate of growth. In the USSR, there are several varieties, including the large-fruited and small-fruited types. Foreign varieties include the Lyon and the Neapolitan; both have very large and tasty fruits.
Usually chestnuts are propagated by seeds. However, the best varieties are propagated by grafts and cuttings. The seeds are stratified in the autumn and planted in a nursery in the spring. The seedling stocks are then grafted with a fistula or bud. Chestnut trees are grown on slopes in deep, well moistened, fertile soils. Each seedling is planted in an area measuring 18 m X 18 m or 20 m X 20 m. The spaces between the rows are used for temporary plantings (for example, filbert trees). The crown of the chestnut tree is formed by 8– boughs and by a trunk measuring 70– cm high. The tending of the soil, including its fertilization and irrigation, is very similar to the care of apple orchards. The most dangerous insect pests are the moth and weevil. Chestnut trees are susceptible to several diseases, including root and trunk cancer and core brown rot. Besides the species of the family Fagaceae, there are species of the family Hippocas-tanaceae that are also called chestnuts, for example, the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).
REFERENCESRikhter, A. A., and V. A. Kolesnikov. Orekhoplodnye kuVtury. Simferopol’, 1952.
Krotkevich, P. G. Kul’tury orekhoplodnykh. Kiev, 1954.
V. A. KOLESNIKOV