Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Castanea spp. (Kastanie, chestnut)

Nomenclature etc. FAGACEAE. Major species: C. sativa Mill. - Syn.: C. vesca Gaertn.; C. crenata Sieb. & Zucc.; C. dentata (Marsh.) Borkh. Trade and local names: C. sativa: Echte Kastanie, Esskastanie (DE), chataignier (FR), European chestnut (GB, US), Europees kastanje (NL), castagno (IT), castaño (ES), kastane (TR), schabalut (IR), szelidgesztenye (HU); C. dentata: chestnut (US); C. crenata: kuri, shibaguri (JP); bam-namu (KR). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean, Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East, temperate Asia, and North America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically yellow to brown (uniformly brown). Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density (0.46–)0.53–0.56–0.59 g/cm³ (C. dendata: 0.46–0.48).

Vessels. Wood ring-porous. Vessels arranged in diagonal and/or radial pattern, in earlywood exclusively solitary and in multiples (in latewood), commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows and in clusters (latewood only). Average tangential vessel diameter 150–215–250(–300) µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–7 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, of uniform size or type. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids commonly present (vasicentric). Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 600–1220–1570 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls or common in both radial and tangential walls, simple to minutely bordered or distinctly bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse, or diffuse-in-aggregates (in short tangential lines between rays). Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–5.

Rays. Rays 9–14 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present (observed only in specimens of C. seguinii) or not observed, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Castanea crenata. • Tangential section. Castanea crenata. • Radial section. Castanea crenata.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.