Chestnut trees are of moderate growth rate (for the Chinese chestnut tree) to fast-growing for American and European species. Their mature heights vary from the smallest species of chinkapins, often shrubby, to the giant of past American forests, Castanea dentata that could reach 60 m. In between these extremes are found the Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata) at 10 m average followed by the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) at about 15 m, then the European chestnut (Castanea sativa) around 30 m.
The Chinese and more so the Japanese chestnuts are both often multileadered and wide-spreading, whereas European and especially American species tend to grow very erect when planted among others, with little tapering of their columnar trunks, which are firmly set and massive. When standing on their own, they spread on the sides and develop broad, rounded, dense crowns at maturity. The two latter’s foliage has striking yellow autumn colouring.