ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Uses of Castanea Sativa

Updated on April 12, 2011

 The European chestnut (Castanea sativa Miller), is a deciduous tree in the family Fagaceae. The species is the only native of the genus Castanea in Europe, but in recent decades has often been introduced for reasons phytopathological, the Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata). The populations in Europe are therefore mainly related to European chestnut seedlings or grafted on Japanese or European chestnut hybrids of the two species.

Economic Importance And Distribution

 

The chestnut is one of the most important forest species in southern Europe, as it has had, since ancient times, the interest of man for many uses. Besides the intrinsic interest in the ecological aspect, this species has been widely cultivated, up to a wider range, for the production of timber and fruit. The latter, in the past has been an important food source for the rural areas of mountain forest and hills, as the chestnuts were used mainly for the production of flour.

 

The economic importance of the chestnut has now undergone a drastic downsizing: the fruit crop is now limited to the varieties of high quality and the production of wood for building was markedly reduced. Very marginal, finally, is the use of chestnuts for the production of flour, which has a minor use in the confectionery industry.

 

It is believed that most of the chestnut forest cover were a result of renaturation of old abandoned plantations over time, while the cultivation has been reduced more favorable to the stations, where you can get the best characteristics of the product, including timber.

 

Botanical Description

 

The chestnut tree is a plant-limbed, with expanded, rounded crown height and variable, depending on conditions, from 10 to 30 meters.

 

Under normal conditions, develops a large columnar trunk, with bark smooth, shiny, brownish-gray. The bark of the branches is white and is covered with transverse lenticels. Over the years, the bark cracks longitudinally.

 

The leaves are alternate, provided with a short stalk and, behind this, two stipules oblong. The foil is great, even up to 20-22 cm long and wide up to 10 cm, lanceolate, acuminate apex and serrated in the margin, with sharp teeth and regularly located. The young leaves are hairy, but fully developed are hairless, shiny and leathery texture.

 

The flowers are unisexual, on the same plant. The male flowers are grouped in small clusters, in turn, forming catkins erect, 5-15 cm long, issued at the leaf axil. Each flower is white, features a perigonium divided into 6 lobes and an androecium of 6-15 stamens. The female flowers are single or in groups of 2-3. Each group is surrounded by a sheath of bracts that dome.

 

The fruit is an achene, commonly called chestnut, with pericarp cuoiosa consistency and brown, glabrous and shiny on the outside, tomentose inside. The shape is more or less spherical, with one side flattened, said belly, and a convex, called back. The apical pole ends in a small prolongation fringed, said the torch, while the proximal pole, called the hilum, is slightly flattened and grayish color. The streaks are back more or less marked, particularly in the variety of the group of brown. These morphological features are important for recognition of the variety.

 

The achenes are enclosed in number of 1-3, in a spiky shell, commonly called hedgehog, which is derived from much of the dome. At maturity, the hedgehog opens by splitting into four valves. The seed is rich in starch.

 

Uses

Fruit

The fruit is used since ancient times, as has been said, for the production of flour. This use of marginal importance and today has limited the production of sweets, such as the chestnut and Panmorone. Yet familiar, however, the destination of the fruits of good quality for direct consumption, concentrated in autumn, and the industrial production of jams and marron glacé. Has marginal interest to the possible use of fruits as food for pets.

Tannins

The bark and wood of the chestnut are rich in tannins and can be used for its extraction, for use in tanneries. This intended use, in Italy, has been a particular interest in the early decades of the twentieth century, a time when the industry was widely used national tannin chestnut, but after 1940 has lost importance for the contraction of this sector for the use as raw material, the scrap wood.

Wood

The chestnut is characterized by early formation of heartwood, sapwood has a so slim. The heartwood is brown while the sapwood is light gray. Structurally, it is a wood eteroxilo with ring-porous and tends to fall apart at the rings.

Among its advantages are cited durability and resistance to moisture, so it is suitable for use as structural timber, ease of processing make it suitable to be used for the construction of various components. It is also a semi-hard wood, suitable for secondary works of craftsmanship.

This early formation of heartwood makes it possible to implement shifts coppicing relatively short, of course depending on the type of cargo required range. Density is the order of 1 t/m3 in fresh wood and 0.58 t/m3 for that season.

Wood has worked shades ranging from yellow to reddish, thin veins and a distinct knots.

Because of its technological characteristics, the chestnut has been traditionally used for multiple uses and the construction of beams, poles, fixtures, staves for barrels, baskets and furniture, in addition to the aforementioned extraction of tannin. Currently its main purpose is the furniture industry.

Apiculture

Beekeeping is an ancillary activity that could draw the chestnut. Although predominantly anemogama pollination, the male flowers of the chestnut are collected by bees, so this plant is considered mellifera. Chestnut honey has a variable color from amber to dark brown, bitter aftertaste, resists crystallization for a long time, is particularly rich in fructose and pollen. Its Grown naturally in areas with a greater commitment to the chestnut and mainly in the submontane zone between 500 and 1000 meters above sea level along the Alps, the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian side of the mountainous areas of northern Sicily.

Herbalist's shop

The use of chestnut medicinal purposes is a minor aspect, but this species is considered a medicinal plant in the pharmacopoeia are popular for the content in tannins, the bark has astringent properties, can be used in phytocosmetics for the treatment of the skin. The leaves, as well as astringent, mild antiseptic properties are attributed and a cough suppressant.

Always popular the pharmacopoeia of some regions, the pulp of the chestnuts, cooked and sieved phytocosmetics is used in the preparation of detergents and softening facial masks.

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for posting and education me on Castanea Sativa...it is greatly appreciated

    • daffodil2010 profile imageAUTHOR

      daffodil2010 

      7 years ago

      thank you for your comments my friends.

    • Sufidreamer profile image

      Sufidreamer 

      7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Interesting Hub about a wonderful, beautiful tree.

      The older folks in our village still refer to it by its old name, Kastania, after the huge chestnut trees dotted all around.

      We are looking forward to roasted chestnuts later in the year! :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, the European chestnut sure is full of utility! Excellent Hub!

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 

      7 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      When I lived in ex-Yugoslavia, I used to be able to buy a foot gel with chestnut extract. This was amazingly good for hot, swollen feet in summer. Never been able to find one in the UK.

    • kentuckyslone profile image

      kentuckyslone 

      7 years ago

      Excellent hub, I have been browsing around this afternoon and this is one of the best hubs I have read

    • daffodil2010 profile imageAUTHOR

      daffodil2010 

      7 years ago

      thank you my friend

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Very good hub, well researched. Chestnut roasted and served with brussel sprouts yummy. Well done.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)