fruit_nuts foraging guide Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa)

Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) 971


Edibility:Edible Good

Eating notes: Chestnuts are one of the few wild plants that are regularly collected in the UK. Chestnuts are traditionally roasted whole in their shells. Chestnuts starchy consistency means that they can also be dried and ground into flower for use in baking.






A large tree common in parks and woodland. More common in southern parts of the UK.

Height: 20 - 30m

Leaves: Elongated spear-shape with sharply serrated edges. Alternate on branches.

Flowers: Pale yellow catkins forming near the end of the new years growth. 

Nuts: Large nut cases (8cm) thickly covered in sharp spines. Each case contains 2-3 individual brown shiny nuts. They ripen from late September to earlier October. A pair of thick leather gloved is required for getting the nuts from their spiny cases.

Look-a-likes: The main look-a-like for the Sweet Chestnut is the Horse Chestnut. The Horse Chestnut nuts are covered with only a few blunt spines rather then the 'hedgehog' covering of the Sweet Chestnut. Horse Chestnuts are NOT edible.