Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) belongs to the Fagaceae (the Beech family). It is a tall deciduous tree that is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor, and widely cultivated throughout the temperate world. It produces an edible seed, the chestnut, which has been used in cooking since ancient times. This tree grows to 20-35 m in height with a trunk often 2 m in diameter. The bark often has a retiform (net-shaped) pattern. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 16-28 cm long and 5-9 cm broad. The flowers of both sexes are borne in 10-20 cm long, upright catkins, the male flowers in the upper part and female flowers in the lower part. The female flowers develop into spiny cupules containing 3-7 brownish nuts that are shed during October.