Castanea sativa at Gabalfa

Castanea sativa 0

Castanea sativa
July 2022

Grid reference ST 15650 78488
Common name Sweet chestnut
Origin South Europe & north Africa
Deciduous Yes
Height 34M July 2022
Girth 522cm @ 1M July 2022
Reference 835

This tree is at River View, Gabalfa

The approximate age of this tree is calculated by estimating its lifetime growing conditions and measuring its girth.[1]

The 1880 Ordnance Survey map shows that historically the ground was part of the Gabalva House estate,[2}[3} and the existence of large Lime and Plane trees nearby suggests that the trees were formally planted. The age calculation has been made on the basis that this ground is a "good" site for this tree. The ground is considered good because it is an open site quite near a river bank. On this basis, the tree is estimated to be approximately 233 years old in 2022, therefore started growing around 1790.

Castanea sativa bark1

Castanea sativa bark
July 2022

Castanea sativa leaf1

Castanea sativa leaves
July 2022

Castanea sativa flower1

Castanea sativa flowers at the crown
mid July 2022

Castanea sativa flower2

Castanea sativa flowers
mid July 2022

General tree description

Castanea sativa is a fast growing, large tree growing up to 36 metres tall. It has vertically-ridged, rough, grey-brown bark and dense glossy foliage. The leaves are 20cm long and elliptic with 20 pairs of straight parallel veins each ending in a 'saw' tooth. The flowers are bisexual catkins, female at the base and male at the tip. The conspicuous male sections are 15 to 20cm long and yellow or creamy white with an unpleasant odour. They mature in mid summer, then fall away leaving the female catkins to develop into spiny fruits (chestnuts) in autumn. A good crop of chestnuts is only produced in a warmer than average summer.

Sources of Information

  1. Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain
  2. Matthew Williams, Lost houses of Cardiff, 2nd edition, 2021, pages 22-25
  3. The Gabalva Estate and Demesne. The Silurian, or South Wales General Advertiser, Saturday 29 June 1839 page 2