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Castanetum (Chestnut Plantation)

Castanetum (Chestnut Plantation)

In different areas of the Lourizán estate, there are Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata) and Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) stands. Clonal banks of hybrids between species –principally, C. crenata × C. sativa, and a collection of grafted Galician-traditional varieties (Castanea sativa) can also be found. This material was introduced at different moments since the CIF foundation until now. At the same time, different research areas were established.

In the late ’40s, three Japanese chestnut (C. crenata) stands were planted:

Stand A: next to the road entering the estate, on the right side;

Stand B: over the stone table;

Stand C: over the path that goes to the Agrovello commune

In addition, a Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima) stand was also planted, which is located between the above-mentioned path, Agrovello and the Agrovello brook –which runs down to the Park of the Rías. These stands are from populations in the Basque Country –in Northern Spain, planted between 1917 and 1940. The stands comprise individuals of pure species, except for some hybrid from pollination of Japanese chestnuts by sweet chestnuts. These hybrids are naturally produced and –probably, come from the Basque Country stands, where the original seeds are from. Many of these Chinese chestnut individuals died, showing the species’ limited longevity.

The so-called Fila Molina was planted by 1948 and, at the beginning, it comprised 16 trees. Each of the first 12 trees are four sets of half-brothers: the first plant is a C. sativa; the second one is an interspecific hybrid; the third one is a C. crenata. It is useful to know the differences in plant vigour and structure of the two parent species, C. sativa and C. crenata, as well as the high plant vigour of their hybrids.

The CIF’s chestnut clone banks are formed by 177 clones; most of them are F1 hybrids from C. crenata x C. sativa. These hybrids are from collection made by the Spanish researcher Urquijo at the Phythopathology Station of A Coruña –a city in the north of Galicia, and was created by controlled pollination. 106 clones are F2 and F3 hybrids from free-pollination C. crenata x C. sativa.  They were obtained –mostly, from hybrids made by the researcher Gallástegui at the Misión Biológica de Galicia research centre (in the province of Pontevedra). The existing clonal banks were planted –from 1995 on, in an area known as Mantequera, Pastizal and Vega del Cocho. This was due to a reorganization of previously existing material that had arrived at the CIF between 1958 and 1962.

The collection of traditional chestnuts cultivar comprises the most important Galician planted cultivars in 1997. They were made from the prospections undertaken in Lourizán from 1989 on. It is formed by 16 cultivars and planted in a field known as Agrovello.