A Conversation for Horse Chestnut Trees

Economic Importance of Horse Chestnut

Post 1

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

Some of this info. I've also posted to the EG article on 'Conkers'.

Ref the para "In April or May, the horse chestnut goes into bloom. Each candle-like inflorescence is made up of many four-petalled white or, in one variety, pink, flowers with a slight scent. The white variety has hints of red and yellow": It is worth noting that the beautiful upright clusters of flowers which, at a distance, look like candles, means that the H/C is sometimes called the 'Candle Tree'.

Under uses of Horse Chestnut: Because it's a rapidly growing tree, its timber is not durable and so is of little use for outdoor purposes. The wood is white, rather soft and easily worked. Hence it is sometimes used for making small articles of indoor furniture.

The following information I also posted to the EG Entry on 'Conkers':

smiley - sorry lost the copy. I'll post it directly after this one.....


Economic Importance of Horse Chestnut

Post 2

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

cont'd/

During WW1 Horse Chestnuts were needed as a raw material for the Weizmann Process for the production of acetone (propanone); which in turn was needed for the manufacture of explosives (cordite). Maize was originally used as the substrate, but a grain shortage created pressure to find other sources of carbohydrates, which would not interfere with the already restricted food supplies. By May, 1917 experiments were being carried out with H/C's , at the suggestion of Britain's Ministry of Munitions. Children throughout Britain were asked to collect conkers to supply this effort. Reference: Chemistry in Britain, Vol 23 No. 4. April, 1987.

Why the name 'Horse Chestnuts'? At the time the H/C was introduced to Europe, there were reports that conkers were being fed to sick horses in Turkey. According to Gerard, in his 'erball' of 1597, "people of East countries do with the fruit thereof cure their horses of the cough".

Another explanation is that the name 'horse' has nothing to do with horses, but means "coarse" or "inferior", the hard brown nut being inferior to the fruit of the sweet chestnut.

smiley - biggrin


Economic Importance of Horse Chestnut

Post 3

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

smiley - sorry again: 'erball' was supposed to read 'Herball'.

smiley - doh

smiley - biggrin


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Economic Importance of Horse Chestnut

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