Chinese Chestnut

Castanea mollissima

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Castanea (kas-TAN-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: mollissima (maw-LISS-ih-muh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bay Minette, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Buffalo, New York

Cincinnati, Ohio

Dundee, Ohio

Irwin, Pennsylvania

West Newton, Pennsylvania

Swansea, South Carolina

Lebanon, Tennessee

Mc Minnville, Tennessee

Morrison, Tennessee

Point Roberts, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Resistant to chestnut blight.

Chinese chestnuts have been selected as orchard trees over many centuries. They have been bred for a short, low-branched and spreading habit to make for easy harvest.

I find the scent of the flowers unpleasantly heavy, though some people like it. It's strong enough to perfume the air.

In the fall, they drop lots of spiny burs over an extended period. This is a maintenance problem if you're using them ornamentally where there are children or pets or pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

In spacing trees, bear in mind that in maturity the crowns can reach 50' across. For home production, a single tree may be enough.

If you want commercial-quality harvests, plant grafted cultivars rather than ... read more


On Sep 12, 2012, 10jdjean from Gladstone, MI wrote:

It is my belief that chinese chestnut is one of the most underrated trees in the united states. People never seem to talk about it much other than as a replacement for the blighted american. It seems like people almost have a certain degree of animosity for it being not as big or grand as the native american. Its being used for breeding purposes to defer resistance etc..
Chinese chestnut is a nice orchard tree that will last for a few generations and only increase in size and longevity. It has beautiful leaves and a pretty high degree of drought resistance and tends to branch low from the trunk in multiple leaders. It has charming sturdy stubiness about it in its twigs and leaves and growth form that make it endearing and tough. Genetically it is probably the progenitor of all of ... read more


On Oct 13, 2008, slyperso1 from Richland, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted 4 in heavy clay on a slope.
All did well, but you have to keep the soil as acidic as possible, by using pine bark, oak leave, or pine needles.
You can find them growing in large forest on the lower to medium elevation of granite mountains (granite is acidic). Just to say that this tree is rugged provided its in a moist and acidic soil.


On Nov 5, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Prefers deep, sandy loam soil. Nuts are edible and quite tasty. Plants are self-fertile, but planting more than one ensures the best pollination for nut production. Leaves turn yellow/bronze in fall.