That's a Good-Looking, um, Chestnut Leaf

By David Jenison on July 27, 2017

French artist Claude Lalanne introduced this one-of-a-kind jewelry piece at NYC's Paul Kasmin Gallery in 2016, and judging by the shape of the leaf blades, the Paris-born sculpture artist might not realize what she's growing in her backyard. Sure, a Japanese maple leaf is nearly identical to a pot leaf, but the North American chestnut tree has wide blades that look nothing like cannabis. So what exactly does this necklace depict? We placed it side by side with a cannabis leaf (see below), and, well, the photo is worth at least 420 words. 

Claude is approaching the century mark, so maybe the nonagenarian didn't realize she was munching on nugs instead of nuts, but the more likely explanation is that the European chestnut tree tends to have narrower blades (though not that narrow). A more remote possibility, however, is that Claude punched in the wrong botany term when looking for a visual reference online. We've all had issues with auto-fill when doing searches, and the name of the European chestnut species is castanea sativa! 

It's probably a safe bet to assume "castanea" is not the most common auto-fill option associated with "sativa." 

The works of Claude and her late husband Francois-Xavier (known collectively as Les) can be found in galleries around the world, and Yves Saint Laurent incorporated them into its Park Avenue store in NYC. As for the inspiration behind the necklace, the leaf is a sativa either way, and anyone with $12,000 to spare can pick up the cannabis/castanea sativa piece at the gallery and rock it however you'd like. 

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