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Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Daniel Mosquin, May 17, 2004.
Just for the record, we found some old fruit caps under the tree with the narrower leaves.
Those are Hazel Corylus avellana; immature nuts recently picked and eaten by squirrels.
Thanks! I guess we'd better go see what that tree looks like.
Chestnut trees produce spiky fruits that look more like sea urchins.
This tree was VanDusen Botanical Garden's Tree of the Month for August, 2013 - Castanea dentata, American Chestnut. It's just inside the fence, between Oak St and the new entrance, on the street side of the driveway.
A true-to-type example for you to refer to, based on what can be seen in these pictures.
Here's this Chestnut tree again at UBC Old Arboretum. I was with someone who thought it would be an American Chestnut, and since we found some fruits on the ground and he had a knife and was able to cut them open, I have photos to post of those. I just ate one of the nuts. I liked it, but I have nothing to compare it to. After removing the silky covering, it was the size of a small chick pea. Is that dinky-small enough?
On the other hand, the fruits were huge in comparison to the size of the one ones in that photo from VanDusen two postings before this one, and those leaves maybe look more universally thinner? And do the veins look less prominent on that tree?
Do the nuts from the two species of trees have distinguishing features?
As an aside, I wonder if this year's drought will affect the quality and quantity of this year's crop. It may be too early to tell but I stomped open a number of casings this morning only to find small, dry, shriveled nuts.
Here are some nuts I've found:
Castanea dentata, American Chestnut, from VanDusen Botanical Garden, the only nut I found under the tree
Castanea sativa, European or Spanish Chestnut, from Jervis and Barclay in the West End. There were tons of nuts under the tree
Castanea mollissima, from 24th and Heather. There were a lot of empty nuts; the owner showed me these developed ones that she had collected and put aside.
I didn't get to take any of the mollissima, but I boiled the others. We divided the single dentata nut into four teeny pieces to taste; we preferred that one to the sativa, which were a little mushier. After boiling, I still had no trouble identifying the dentata, though I had taken care to score it differently in case it looked more like the others after boiling, but it still looked pretty much like the photo.
To answer my own question above, it turns out this year's crop was relatively poor due to this summer's drought. There were few if any nuts found under some trees. The ones that were producing had the benefit of being close to underground lawn sprinklers.
I'm surprised. With the number of people in the West End you'd think there would be some chestnut lovers amongst them.
I know. But there are not many people around who know or pay attention to trees. It's the only real chestnut among very many horse chestnuts in the West End, including one horse chestnut across the street whose larger but similar-looking nuts (except for the pointed tip on the Castanea) were also underneath this tree. All the nuts I took were good too, no mouldy ones.
Well I must admit I didn't know chestnut trees existed in my neighbourhood until only a few years ago at which time I encountered a couple of nut collectors early one morning. The nuts are not particularly large so they don't stand out even when they're on the ground. A couple of people I showed them to recently thought they were hazelnuts.
A friend and client gave me three young whips in ice cream pales last year which have since recently been planted in Rosedale, Chilliwack and Columbia Valley. The mother tree was started from seed. This particular tree has had a happy life in Chilliwack so far. Planted roughly 3m from a tall heritage home with excellent Sun exposure, drainage and a larger wind shelter from mature trees in the immediate area.
Found these documents which may be useful in identifying a chestnut tree:
IDENTIFICATION OF CHESTNUT (CASTANEA) SPECIES
Basic Tree ID - Massachusetts Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation
Not sure what it is that they're calling "European Chestnut" (which isn't the recognised name for Castanea sativa), but whatever it is, their description doesn't fit typical Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa as I know it. I'll go get some foliage in a day or two, but fairly sure it'll key out as C. dentata, even though it isn't.
Thanks, Junglekeeper. Both seem to be good references. This quote from the first one seems like one I might want to invoke: "A good rule of thumb is to assume you have a hybrid unless you have good reason to believe otherwise, such as having all characters agree exactly with the key."
[Edited] Oh, I posted this before reading Michael's note. OK, awaiting developments.
Could the bark be used as an identifier for the species? Note the distinctive bark pattern of a C. sativa specimen in the following video. It can be seen at the 2:10 mark.
On the YouTube page for that video, there was a link to The American Chestnut Tree Comeback.
They did say they're trying to incorporate the blight resistance of the Chinese Chestnut, so does that mean these are all hybrids they're planting?
Actually the next link answers that question. There are breeding programs and transgenics programs. I think he's saying that the breeding programs would be creating hybrids but the transgenics produced trees are not considered hybrids.
From other links on that page, here is a TED talk,
Reviving the American forest with the American chestnut: William Powell at TEDxDeExtinction,
From earlier postings in this thread, here are photos of the bark from the tree marked as Castinea dentata at the UBC Old Arboretum (Michael F hasn't agreed to this ID though)
I don't have better photos of these:
Castanea dentata from VanDusen and Castanea mollissima (according to the owner) in a yard. The UBC bark above is the most different from what's shown in Junglekeeper's link. I don't think the supposed mollissima one looks all that different from sativa.
Sorry, been forgetting about this! The MOBOT key relies heavily on the hairiness of spring leaves which I can't comment on with the samples I collected a few days ago, but the second key 'Another version' splits out Sweet Chestnut (or at least, what they say is Castanea sativa) particularly on long petioles "to 1¼ inches long or more" (i.e., 30 mm plus). The longest petiole I could find was 25 mm, and the majority were in the range 6-20 mm. So that's a clear error in their key.
The main key ('General key') also gives leaf length of "usually long (5–10 inches)" (i.e., 13–25 cm) for American, and "Leaves 5–8 inches long, broadest below the middle" (i.e., 13–20 cm) for Sweet. Neither is very helpful given the extreme range of variation in chestnut leaf length; in even just a short casual look I found Sweet Chestnut leaves ranging from [exceptionally 5–] 10–31 cm long on each of several individual trees, and have found 35 cm leaves several times in the past. Leaf shape is also very variable, with length:width ratios varying from 2–4, again on each of several single trees; upper crown leaves tend to be narrower than shade leaves on epicormic sprouts, but again, much variation. Likewise, leaf base is also variable, from lanceolate to nearly auriculate, again even within the leaves from a single tree.
So if using that key, be aware that Sweet Chestnut is likely to key out as American Chestnut.
According to the table in Basic Tree ID - Massachusetts Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, European chestnut does not have hooks on leaf teeth whereas American does. If you enlarge the two pictures given in IDENTIFICATION OF CHESTNUT (CASTANEA) SPECIES (European: CHeuro American: CHamer), this appears to be the case. Can you confirm @Michael F?
The table also describes the buds as globular for European and slim for American. Perhaps that's the best way to differentiate these two species.
From the two pictures I would say the trees in my area are American just from the general appearance of the leaves as they are broader. What do you think? I'll look for the teeth hooks when I get a chance.
Sorry, Junglekeeper, I'm confused - what two pictures? I thought the American leaves were supposed to be narrower.
Depends on what is meant by 'hooks'. If it means the bristle-tipped teeth, then yes, Sweet Chestnut often (though not always) has bristle-tipped teeth. If it means those bristles are curved in the shape of a hook, they can be occasionally (but not often), but equally, neither are the bristles in the CHamer photo hook-shaped. Take your pick!!
The buds may be significant; I'll have to check my local trees again. The upper crown buds certainly are near-globular, but I'm not sure if shade shoot buds are or not.
Thanks, Junglekeeper, for the links two postings before this. In those, the European leaves are skinnier, straighter sides, with more veins closer together. I think that contradicts what you concluded about the trees in your area, according to your statement in the posting before I got confused.
Contradiction? Well not exactly. I thought they may be C. sativa based on the pattern of the bark but perhaps C. dentata also has the same trait. The leaves definitely look more like the ones in the photo of American chestnut, little hooks included. I'm leaning towards American chestnut but then how do you reconcile the existence of these mature trees knowing that they have been supposedly wiped out in North America by the blight.
Note: My idea of a hook is the end is curved in the shape of a hook, as in the photo.