Are these the "good" kind or "really bad" kind?

Asked October 19, 2016, 12:52 PM EDT

Hello! I was reading your FACEBOOK posts from OSU yesterday, and I realized there are good chestnuts..... and then horse chestnuts. I have two trees on my property, and this year is the first time there has been any fruit (nuts?!). I thought they were Buckeyes until researching. But, after reading your post last week - I'm SUPER concerned. I'm enclosing two pics. Can you advise me? I don't want to poison anyone! Thank you so much!

Maury County Tennessee

3 Responses

Based on the photos you have provided, this certainly is a chestnut (Castanea sp.) but it is neither a horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)or buckeye (Aesculus glabra). Most likely it is a Chinese Chestnut or a Chinese Chestnut hybrid. Pure American Chestnut are rare and once they reach a certain size/age they begin showing signs and symptoms of the Chestnut Blight, a disease that wiped out almost 100% of our native chestnut more than 100 years ago. Here are some resources you might find interesting that shows the difference between a buckeye and chestnut as well as the difference between an American vs. Chinese chestnut tree:

I hope you find this information helpful and feel free to contact your local University of Tennessee Cooperative Extension Office with similar questions:

So, can these be roasted on an open fire....,or, basically, can be consumed without poisoning anyone?!

As long as they are indeed chestnuts, then yes they can be consumed.