Castanea mollissima

6 Aug

Castanea mollissima (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Castanea mollissima (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to dappled shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 20m

Eventual Spread: 12m

Hardiness: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b

Family: Fagaceae

Castanea mollissima is a deciduous tree with a broad crown. Its mid green leaves are ovate to lanceolate with toothed serrate margins, up to 22cm long and 7cm broad. Its leaves turn yellow/ bronze before they fall in autumn. Its monoecious flowers are catkins and up to 17cm long. Its female flowers then develop into spiny cupules which are up to 8cm across and contain edible chestnuts.

Castanea mollissima Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Castanea mollissima Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Castanea mollissima, commonly known as Chinese Chestnut, is native to China, Taiwan and Korea. In its native habitat it grows in mixed deciduous woodland. This species of Castanea is mostly resistant to Chestnut Blight.

The etymological root of the binomial name Castanea is derived from the Latin name for Chestnut. Mollissima is derived from the Latin Mollis meaning ‘soft’.

The landscape architect may find Castanea mollissima useful as an attractive, relatively compact specimen tree. This tree should be thoughtfully sited as its fruit may cause a litter problem. This tree prefers hot summers. Once established this tree is drought tollerant.

Castanea mollissima Bark (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Castanea mollissima Bark (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Castanea mollissima fruit are attractive to some birds and mammals.

Castanea mollissima prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poor soils and very acidic soils.

Castanea mollissima requires little maintenance.

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Landscape Architecture

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