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I need to know the species of this tree as I am studying at college and need to be able to recognise trees, and I guess the trees near me would be a good start. The leaves are elliptical, serrate and alternate. I have been thinking it's an ash tree but the leaves are way off, what is it ? My location is the south of England near London.

  • Sam, welcome! I added the tag “identification” and encourage you to read the tag info, especially if you plan to ask more id questions. The tour and help center, especially How to Ask are also helpful. – Stephie Oct 10 at 16:55
  • This is a global community, so it's very important that you tell us where you are in the world, especially for identification questions. For example, if I had to judge from your top photo, I'd guess you're in Europe, but can't tell where in Europe. – Jurp Oct 11 at 2:52
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    Hey sorry I should have said my location, I'm in the south of England. – Sam Yarrow Oct 11 at 5:13
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    Looks a bit like a sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), but need to see the fruits first for conformation. – benn Oct 11 at 7:51
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    Haha, that's a different sativa @stormy. – benn Oct 16 at 20:53

Judging from the leaves and how they are grouped on the branch, I would say it is Castanea sativa which is known as the sweet chestnut. However, fruits (the chestnuts and their husks) can be useful for proper ID, so also a close up of the bark.

The fruits of this tree are edible (mostly roasted), but I have been told that wood was used of these trees for poles (or fire wood logs). What they did in the past, was to cut down a large tree, and out of the roots many new shoots (small trunks) would grow. These new shoots are usually very straight and ideal for poles, and cut every ten years or so (also known as coppicing).

The Castanea genus is part of the Fagaceae family, which also includes oaks and beech (see wiki).

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