Hundred Horse Chestnut
The Hundred-Horse Chestnut (Italian: Castagno dei Cento Cavalli; Sicilian: Castagnu dî Centu Cavaddi) is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world. Located on Linguaglossa road in Sant'Alfio, on the eastern slope of Mount Etna in Sicily — only 8 km (5.0 mi) from the volcano's crater — it is generally believed to be 2,000 to 4,000 years old (4,000 according to botanist Bruno Peyronel from Turin). It is a sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa, family Fagaceae). Guinness World Records has listed it for the record of "Greatest Tree Girth Ever", noting that it had a circumference of 57.9 m (190 ft) when it was measured in 1780. Above ground, the tree has since split into multiple large trunks, but below ground, these trunks still share the same roots.
The tree's name originated from a legend in which a queen of Aragon and her company of 100 knights, during a trip to Mount Etna, were caught in a severe thunderstorm. The entire company is said to have taken shelter under the tree.
Un pedi di castagna
A chestnut tree
Dal tronco, enorme torre millenaria,
From the trunk, huge millenary tower,
The novel The Overstory by American writer Richard Powers includes the line that: "Seven hundred years before, a chestnut in Sicily two hundred feet around sheltered a Spanish queen and her hundred mounted knights from a raging storm."
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chestnut". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 112–113.
- "Chestnut Dinner in the Mountains of Italy". Barilla online. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-12-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Senna, Luciana (2005). Authentic Sicily. Touring Editore. p. 112. ISBN 88-365-3403-1..
- Lewington, Anna; Edward Parker (2002). Ancient Trees: Trees That Live for 1,000 Years. Sterling Publishing Co. p. 92. ISBN 1-85585-974-2.
- The Chestnut tree of Mount Etna, detailed account of the tree, its state and its surroundings, written by Wm. Rushton on June 29, 1871.
- "Poesie sul Castagno dei Cento Cavalli". (Sicilian) Catania Natura. Dipartimento di Botanica, University of Catania. Archived from the original on 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2006-12-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Various illustrations of the tree throughout history". Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved December 22, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)