Photos of Castanea sativa, European Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut.

Castanea sativa, European Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut. Called Spanish chestnut because the sweetest and best quality were formerly imported from Spain into London. Cultivated in temperate Europe since ancient times, it was brought from Asia Minor in the region of the southeastern Black Sea coast (Pontus) to Greece in 504 B.C.E. The name of Castanea derived from Kastanea, an ancient city of Pontus. Various cultivated varieties grown for nut production. At least 8 cultivars were known to the Romans. The American Chesnut, Castanea dentata, was once believed to be conspecific with the European species. Three to four billion American chesnut trees were destroyed by blight in the early 20th century, forever changing the American landscape. This, one of the largest deciduous tree species in the Northern Hemisphere, once dominated 25% of the forests of Appalachia.

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