Buckeyes and Horse Chestnuts | Outdoors My Window


Two Buckeyes: Horsechestnut (giant) and bottlebrush buckeye (small), photographed three months after harvest by Kate St. John

6 December 2023

The Nutty Collection: Buckeyes are the Aesculus genus

Buckeyes have at all times been considered one of my favourite objects as a result of their pores and skin is easy and glossy recent out of the husk, excellent to hold in my pocket like a fear stone.

In America, the native Aesculus are generally
referred to as “buckeyes,” a reputation derived from the
resemblance of the shiny seed to the attention of a
deer [a buck’s eye]. Within the Outdated World, they’re referred to as “horse
chestnuts”—a reputation that arose from the assumption
that the timber had been intently associated to edible
chestnuts (Castanea species), and since the
seeds had been fed to horses as a medicinal remedy for chest complaints and worm ailments.

Arboretum FOundation (in Seattle): The Many Faces of Aesculus

In Pittsburgh we name all of them “buckeyes.”

Let’s go backwards within the rising season from nut to husk, flower and leaf by analyzing buckeyes planted in Schenley Park greater than 100 years in the past.

The massive nut pictured at prime left is from a European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) native to Albania, Bulgaria, mainland Greece and North Macedonia. Every husk incorporates one to a few nuts. Generally they’re flat on one aspect. My favorites are the spherical ones.

Horsechestnut husks and nuts (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

On the tree, horse chestnut husks are spiny.

Horsechestnut fruit on the tree (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

They’re produced from the white flowers which have pink (already fertilized) highlights. Discover that every leaf has seven fats leaflets. The quantity and form of the leaflets point out it is a horsechestnut.

Horse chestnut flowers and leaves (picture by Kate St. John)

In winter horse chestnuts are straightforward to establish by their giant, sticky finish buds.

Hose chestnut twig and buds (picture by Paul Wray, Iowa State College, Bugwood.org)

The yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava) is native to the Appalachians and Ohio Valley and is North America’s tallest buckeye tree at 70 ft. Planted as a decorative in Schenley Park it may well hybridize with its shorter cousin, the Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra), making identification troublesome for non-botanists like me.

Yellow and Ohio buckeye nuts look loads like horse chestnuts. Seeing the husk is a giant assist as a result of yellow buckeye husks are easy …

Yellow buckeye nuts within the husk (picture by Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org)

… whereas Ohio buckeye husks are barely spiny. The slim leaves additionally point out a local buckeye. (Sure, the leaves regarded sick that yr.)

Ohio buckeye fruits on the tree, Schenley Park (picture by Kate St. John)

Their flowers are pale yellow (not white) and narrower than the horse chestnut’s.

Yellow or Ohio buckeye flowers (I can not inform which) picture by Kate St. John

Yellow buckeye buds are giant however not sticky. They’re one of many first to leaf out within the spring.

Yellow buckeye buds and leaf out at Schenley Park, 5 April 2022

Ohio buckeye buds are strongly keeled.

Ohio buckeye bud (picture by T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State College, Bugwood.org)

For a abstract of 9 frequent buckeyes (Aesculus) utilized in landscaping see The Spruce: What’s a Buckeye?

p.s. The small buckeye nut within the prime picture is from the shrub-sized bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), planted in Schenley Park close to Panther Hole Lake. Click on right here to be taught extra.

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