A member of the Fagaeae family and closely related to the American Chestnut, the Chinese Chestnut—scientifically classified as Castanea Mollissima—is a deciduous species that is, true to its name, native to China as well as to Korea and Taiwan. It has since been cultivated in North America and is actually currently the most commonly planted chestnut in the United States due to its blight-resistant properties.
Its morphological traits distinguish it from other chestnut trees as well; the Chinese Chestnut is slightly smaller in size and scope than the American Chestnut, reaching a height and spread of 40-60 ft., with a more open and rounded peak. Its bark is similarly gray-brown and furrowed, though its ridges don’t show any particular patterning; this species also produces yellow-white catkins which bloom in June. And, like the American Chestnut, this tree’s dark green leaves lighten to golden-yellow in the autumn before being shed. The Chinese Chestnut is further distinguished by a less upright (and more spreading) structure, fuzzier twigs, a broader saw-tooth leaf fringe, and densely situated fruit enclosed within slightly larger burrs that split open when ripe to reveal 1-3 nuts.
Thriving in medium, well-drained soils and full sun, the Chinese Chestnut survives in the 4-8 hardiness zones, both drought- and blight-tolerant. Its thick foliage provides ample shade and its nuts are meaty, large, and arguably less sweet than those of the American Chestnut. Highly durable and rot-resistant, this tree is a food source and habitat for various types of wildlife. Like other members of its botanical family, the Chinese Chestnut should be planted in pairs or groups in order to pollinate and regenerate. These trees make attractive shade trees, though their spiny burrs may be objectionable on a lawn; keep in mind, too, that they need their space to grow, which explains why they don’t compete as well in forests.
This Tree's Zone: 4 to 8
Your Growing Zone:
|Fall Foliage||Golden to yellow|
|Shape||Open and rounded|
|Size||40 to 60 feet|
|Spread||40 to 60 feet|