Natur & ëmwelt, the organisation dedicated to the protection of biodiversity announced that the chestnut tree has been voted the tree of the year for 2018

Every year the "Tree of Year" Council, whose board members include Natur & ëmwelt, chooses to select a tree species to be developed for Luxembourg. This year’s winner is the Castanea sativa, the botanical name for the chestnut tree, which is called Iesskäschtebam in Luxembourgish.

The Romans did not only bring the vines to this area, they also  transplanted the chestnut trees from their original Mediterranean habitat to the Northern regions as well as in Great Britain .

The chesnut tree can live up to 600 years, and in some cases over a thousand years. However, for the most part, with the passing of the  centuries, only their hollow trunks remain standing. The bark of the tree often serves as a support for new plants sprouting anew.

© Natur& Emwelt

Because of their great capacity for regeneration, the chestnut trees have been managed as forest coppice, whereby the trunks are cut every 15 to 20 years, almost to their base and used as firewood as well as plant props.

In Luxembourg, they are mainly standing alone, in the midst of orchards or parks. They can be found in the Dudelange forest where they strive on the warm calcareous soils.

The chesnut tree is particularly known for its chestnut fruits which are always a sensation on Christmas markets.

The tree's nuts are especially used in  southern countries as bread spread, creams or desserts. Chestnut flour is also a common ingredient for baking cakes and breads.

© Natur& Emwelt

While chestnut used to be the breadfruit of the poor in Southern Europe or it even fed to pigs, it is now becoming  increasingly successful with gluten –intolerant people for whom its flour represents an alternative to wheat flour.

In recent years, the chestnut tree has regained popularity with regards to sustainable forest management. A species that can strive in both hot and dry regions, is viewed as a very good news in the context of the climate change.

The Castanea sativa is the winner for 2018 but maybe well keep its title for the many years to come.