Among the plants that have retained the names of the regions from which they were formerly transported.
Urquhart has “Gastanes;” Ozell notes “Read Castanes. From Castana, a city of Thessaly, which abounds with Chesnut-trees, or as Cooper writes it, Chesten-tree or Nut.”
From the old Magnesian or Thessalian city Castanaea (Pomp. Mela, ii 3, 35). According to Pliny (xv. 23, § 25), they came originally from Sardis.
Tum Macedonum populi aliquot urbes habitant, quarum Pelle est et maxima et inlustris. …a Peneo ad Sepiada Corynthya, Meliboea, Castanaea pares ad famam nisi quod Philoctetes alumnus Meliboean inluminat.
(Then the Macedonian peoples inhabit a number of cities, of which Pelle is expecially renowned. … From the Peneus to Point Sepias are Eurtymenae, Meliboea, and Castanea, all equally famous except that Philoctetes, its native son, ennobles Meliboea. — F.E. Romer translation)
Nuces vocamus et castaneas, quamquam accommodatiores glandium generi. armatum his echinato calyce vallum, quod inchoatum glandibus, mirumque vilissima esse quae tanta occultaverit cura naturae. trini quibusdam partus ex uno calyce; cortexque lentus, proxima vero corpori membrana et in his et in nucibus saporem, ni detrahatur, infestat. torrere has in cibis gratius, modo molantur, et praestant ieiunio feminarum quandam imaginem panis. Sardibus hae provenere primum: ideo apud Graecos Sardianos balanos appellant, nam Dios balanu nomen postea inposuere excellentioribus satu factis.
We give the name of nut to the chestnut also, although it seems to fit better into the acorn class. The chestnut has its armed rampart in its bristling shell, which in the acorn is only partly developed, and it is surprising that what nature has taken such pains to conceal should be the least valuable of things. Some chestnuts produce three nuts from one shell; and the skin is tough, but next to the body of the nut there is a membrane which both in the chestnut and the walnut spoils the taste if it is not peeled off. It is more agreeable as a food when roasted, provided it is ground up, and it supplies a sort of imitation bread for women when they are keeping a fast. They came first from Sardis, and consequently they are called nuts of Sardis among the Greeks, for the name of Zeus’s nut was given them later, after they had been improved by cultivation.
Castana vulgaris, Lam. Châtaignier. Amentacée probablement indigène en Europe, mais que Pomponius Mela (II, 3, 35) dit originaire de Castanea, ville de Magnésie. [Note: Mela does not appear to attribute the origin of castanes to Castanea, he merely mentions that there is a town in Magnesia of that name.] Pline dit, au contraire (XV, 25) : « Sardibus eæ provenere primum ». (Paul Delaunay)
castanea, or chestnut, from Castanea, a city of Magnesia, in northeastern Greece…
castane. Also casteyn(e, kasteyne, castany, astainy. [adopted from Old Norman French castanie, castaine (modern French châtaigne): Latin castanea chestnut.]
A chestnut (obsolete)
1398 John de Trevisa Bartholomeus De proprietatibus rerus. xvii. lxxxviii. (Tollemache MS.) Kasteynes [1535 Casteyns] bredeþ swellynge yf men eteþ to many þerof.
(1495) 656 The casteyne tree is a grete tree and an highe… Suche trees ben callyd Castanie.
1398 John de Trevisa Bartholomeus De proprietatibus rerus cxxii. 684 The colour of a castane.
C. 1440 Promptorium parvulorium sive cleriucorum 73, Castany [1499 chesteyne], frute or tre.
1480 William Caxton Ovid’s Metamorphoses xiii. xv, Thou shalt have also castaynes grete plente.
1567 Maplet Greek Forest 48 The Kastainy is a tree of good high growth;