Content Detail

Chinese chestnut is resistant to chestnut blight which has almost wiped out the American chestnut. This non-native species produces spikes of creamy white flowers in summer. The edible nuts develop in sharp, spiny husks.

  • Family (English) Beech
  • Family (botanic) Fagaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 40-60 feet
  • Mature width 40-60 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early fall, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations May be difficult to find in nurseries, Messy fruit/plant parts
  • Wildlife Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to China and Korea.

Bark color and texture :

Bark is gray-brown and ridged and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are elongated, alternate and simple, with coarsely toothed margins. Each tooth ends in a bristle tip. Leaves are dark green in summer and yellow to yellow brown in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small white, male flowers on a pencil-thin spike which is 6 inches long. Female flowers are also small and white, borne in clusters near the base of the male flower spike. Trees flower in July and the  flowers have a musty odor.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is edible nuts in a husk covered with numerous sharp spines.

Plant care:

The Chinese chestnut does best in full sun. It is tolerant of heat and drought and prefers acidic soil.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance:

Twig cankers are possible. The sharp, spiny husks surrounding the nuts can be hard to handle. It is resistant to chestnut blight.

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