Three species of tree or true Chestnuts are cultivated in this country for fruit,—the European Caslanea saliva, the American Castrmea Americana, the Japanese Caslanea crenaia. (See Casfanea). The horticultural characters which distinguish these three types are as follows:
European Chestnuts.—Tree large, with a spreading but compact head, stocky, smooth-barked twigs and large glossy buds of a yellowish brown color; leaves oblong lanceolate,abrubtly pointed, with coarse sometimes in curved serrations, thick and leathery, generally pubes cent beneath when young, but green on both sides when mature. Burs very large, with long, branching spines, and a thick, velvety lining. Nut larger than American Chestnut, sometimes very large, shell dark mahogany brown, pubescent at tip, thick, tough and leathery; kernel enclosed in a thin, tough and astringent skin : quality variable from insipid, astringent to moderately sweet. The leaves remain on the trees until late in autumn, but are more susceptible to the attacks of fungi than the American and Japanese species.
At least one variegated and one cut-leaved variety are grown as orna mentals. This species is variously known as European, French, Spanish and Italian Chestnut (Castanea saliva), and Sweet Chestnut of English writers. It is an inhabi tant of mountain forests in the temperate regions of western Asia, Europe and north Africa. Esteemed for its nuts in Spain, France and Italy, where they have con stituted an important article of food since an early day. Introduced to the United States by Irénée Dupont, at Wil mington, Del., in 1803, though recorded by Jeflerson, under the designation“French Chestnut," as grafted by him on native Chestnut near Charlottesville (Monticello), Va., in 1773.