Native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and widely cultivated for the their multiple uses. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.
They are fast-growing tree that often reach 30 metres, commonly with furrowed bark when mature. The toothed leaves are lance-shaped to somewhat oval. Most male flowers are borne in long upright catkins; female flowers are arranged singly or in clusters at the base of short male catkins. The spiny bur surrounds one to seven nuts, depending on the species, and splits upon maturity. The seeds lose viability rapidly and typically germinate shortly after they fall to the ground in autumn.
The dye is extracted from the bark. The bark is first smooth and gray-red in the younger branch and later gray-green fissured lengthwise in the grown ones. The inner surface is whitish, which turns to reddish gray after exposure to air and after dried.
South Europe (Italy and Valle d’Aosta).
Chestnut wood is a useful source of natural tannin and was used for tanning leather before the introduction of synthetic tannins. In herbal medicine is taken internally as cough remedy, astringent and antispasmodic, water chestnut decoction is useful in dysuria and dysentery, in phytocosmetics is used for its skincare potential and antioxidant properties.