Trees A Crowd


Sweet Chestnut: Legendarily tasty, but as prickly and trustworthy as a Borgia

Season 3, Ep. 26

Our thirty-eighth tree, the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa). A mighty tree, but actually a non-native archeophyte; one whose fruit has both fattened us and inspired us. We soak the chestnuts in sugar, we sing christmas songs about them, and they’ve inspired histories greatest fable-fabricators to have a LOT of fun! So, whether you want stories of 4000 year old trees growing in the shadow of a volcano and sheltering 100 horsemen, or myths about a horny Roman god wanting to make illegitimate love-tadpoles with a water nymph, or simply the tried and tested Renaissance tale of Alexander the chestnut-depraved Borgia Pope and the joy of sharing his nuts with his cardinals... this tree has it all! (Special thanks to Francois Arnaud for adding his voice to this episode.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at:

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