Herb: Water Chestnut

Latin name: Trapa natans

Family: Trapaceae (Water Chestnut Family)

Edible parts of Water Chestnut:

Seed - raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder. A sweet floury and agreeable flavour, similar to sweet chestnuts (Castanea spp). The seed contains up to 50% starch according to one report, 16% starch, 3% protein in another report and 15% protein, 7.5% fat in a third. (Are all these reports talking about the same thing?). One report says that the raw nut contains toxins that are destroyed by cooking the seed.

Description of the plant:


to July

Habitat of the herb:

Water up to 60cm deep.

Propagation of Water Chestnut:

Seed - harvest in late summer and store overwinter in a jar of water in a cold but frost-free place. The seed quickly loses its vitality if it is allowed to become dry. Sow in spring, placing one seed in each pot and submerging them under a few centimetres of water.

Cultivation of the herb:

Water up to 60cm deep.

Medicinal use of Water Chestnut:

None known

Known hazards of Trapa natans:

The raw seed contains toxins but that these are destroyed in the cooking process.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.