Smaller in stature than the American or Chinese chestnuts, but with similar lustrous dark green toothed leaves and long pale yellow spiky flowers. Prickly 1–1½" burs each house a single glossy brown nut, savored by many birds and mammals. The sweet nuts are edible for humans, though labor-intensive to harvest. Once an important food for indigenous peoples. Forms a small tree or big multi-stemmed thicket-forming shrub with horizontally spreading lower branches and upright climbing top branches. Densely grained, strong but light wood is used for fence posts and fuel.
Somewhat resistant to chestnut blight, and can often survive infections. Prefers well-drained soil; pH adaptable. Full sun to partial shade. Monoecious, so plant two or more for pollination. May hybridize with other Castanea species. Native to much of central and eastern U.S. but scattered and becoming rare in the wild. Z4. (1–3' bare-root trees)
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