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European chesnut, Castanea sativa / Fagaceae
In Europe the variety cultivated is the well-known Castaño Español, whose scientific name is Castanea sativa. There are also Chinese and Japanese varieties of chestnut tree.

There are thirteen species in the tempered regions of the N hemisphere, although the Castaño Español is the only species produced in Europe. The others are found in the rest of the world in the following way: five of them belong to Asia, C. mollisima, C. crenata, C. henryi, C. guinii and C. davidii; and seven in North America, C. dentata, C. ozarkensis, C. ashei, C. paucispina, C. pumila, C. floridiana and C. alnifolia.

To sum up, the most important chestnut tree in the world are classified in three species:
- Chinese, C. mollisima Bl.
- Japanese, C. crenata Sieb. & Zucc.
- European, C. sativa Mill.

The three species are cultivated for their fruits in their natural areas, with a great number of varieties, but the graft practice in Europe gave rise to many cultivars that are known nowadays. They are still selected to improve their culture.

Concerning the material used in Spain, in Galicia they recommend the clonal selection of brown types such as Famosa, Garrida, Inxerta, and Ventura, since their chestnuts are suitable to be marketed fresh, they are easily peeled and they can be used for the manufacture of frosted chestnuts. Garrida and Loura are appropriate for the mixed production of wood and fruit. Other interesting cultivars in the Galician community are Amarelante, Longal, Luguesa, Parede, Raigona and Rapada. In the province of Málaga they recommend the clonal selection of the cultivars Temprana and Pilonga, brown type, great fruit and early production. In Huelva, Plant Alajar, Helechal, Comisaria and Dieguina are the most recommended. In Castilla-León they are still selecting the cultivars, although Negral seems to be already one of the most important in the area of the Bierzo.

Some euroasian hybrid clones produce great size fruit that show interest for the production of early chestnut in humid areas with few frosts in spring; nevertheless, they have a disadvantage: they have a bad conservation, difficult peeling and insipid taste. In spite of all this, when they arrive at the local market they reach high prices.

Some varieties of chestnuts, Castanea sativa, are:

French varieties

Comballe chestnut
Medium to large size fruit and tree of average vigour. Good productivity and fast fructification onset, during the 5th and 6th year. Very late maturation, not until mid November.

Chestnut from Olargues
Fruit of average size and tree of average to strong vigour. Good productivity and fast fruition, in the 4th and 5th year. Maturation takes place during the 2nd and 3rd week of October.

Belle Epine
The fruit has a large-very large size and the tree is very vigorous. Very good productivity, and fast fructification, during the 5th and 6th year. Semi-late maturation at the end of October. It is original from France.

Hybrids

Bournette
Medium to large size fruit and average vigour tree. Good productivity and fast fructification, during the 4th and 5th year. Semi-early maturation, from the end of September to the end of October. It is from French origin, from the cross Castanea crenata X Castanea sativa.

Marigoule
This chestnut is of medium to large size. Vigorous tree, average productivity and fast fructification during the 4th and 6th year. Semi-early maturation from the end of September to the first two weeks of October. It is the result of the cross between Castanea crenata X Castanea sativa.
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