Whilst the recognition of and the importance of trees is increasing, maybe now more so than ever, as the threats of climate change become more significant – this #NationalTreeWeek , we’re taking a moment to really appreciate some of our personal favourites.
Rumoured to be introduced by the Roman Empire, chestnut trees are commonly found within the UK’s woods, specifically in southern England where they can be found in their dozens. Dedicated to Zeus by the ancient Greeks, the botanical name ‘castanea’ links back to the town in Thessaly, Castonias where the tree had been found, grown for its sweet chestnuts. However, the oldest known chestnut tree in the world remains on Mount Etna in Sicily – with a circumference of 190 feet, it is estimated to be between two and four thousand years old – proving that it’s desirability that had spread across Europe, remains still to this day.
Lightweight and malleable, its timber develops from a straight grain to a spiralled pattern, used within carpentry and joinery as like oak, it provides an easy to work with stability.
Rich in vitamin C, its sweet chestnuts have also been a popular choice for roasting, featured in a variety of recipes often in the festive seasons, adding a sweet and nutty taste often added to poultry and fruit cakes. The high level of starch is not too dissimilar from wheat, loaded with magnesium, potassium, and iron.
A key source of nutrients, with a long life and recognized presence across Europe, the Chestnut tree is determined to remain relevant for years to come.