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: the white root of a plant that grows in water and that is often used in Chinese cooking
Full Definition of WATER CHESTNUT
: any of a genus (Trapa, especially T. natans of the family Trapaceae, the water-chestnut family) of Old World aquatic herbs sometimes grown as ornamentals; also: its edible nutlike spiny fruit
: a whitish crunchy vegetable used especially in Chinese cooking that is the peeled and often sliced tuber of a sedge (Eleocharis dulcis syn. E. tuberosa) native to Asia but widely cultivated elsewhere; also: the tuber or the sedge itself
Any of several perennial water plants of the genus Trapa (family Trapaceae), native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, or their edible, nutlike fruit. The water caltrop (T. natans) has two sets of leaveslong, feathery, rootlike, submerged leaves and a loose rosette of floating leaves attached to leafstalks 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) long. The small fruit usually has four spiny angles. The Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis tuberosus) is a member of the sedge family.