Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Aesculus glabra


Ohio buckeye, Texas buckeye, Fetid buckeye, Horse chestnut


Hippocastanaceae (Horse-Chestnut Family)



Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye)
Makin, Julie
Ohio buckeye, a medium-sized, canopy tree, 50-75 ft. tall, is often used as an ornamental because of its interesting fruit and bright orange fall foliage. Branches bend toward the ground then arch back up, creating a rounded outline. Dense, attractive, deciduous foliage is palmately compound and the showy, erect blossom clusters are held at the ends of the twigs. The tree’s fruit is a nut encased in a spiny, splitting husk. Twigs and leaves often have a slightly unpleasant odor when crushed.

The state tree of Ohio, the Buckeye State. Pioneers carried a buckeye seed in their pockets to ward off rheumatism. The seeds and young foliage are poisonous, and the toxic bark was formerly used medicinally. Sometimes planted as an ornamental for the showy autumn foliage. The wood is used for furniture, boxes, flooring, and musical instruments. Caution: All parts of this tree are poisonous if taken internally. Keep away from livestock; seeds and fruits are attractive to children and are dangerous.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Palmate
Leaf Margin: Serrate
Size Notes: 60 to 80 feet tall.
Leaf: Green above, pale below.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Green
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , ME , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , TN , TX , WV , WI , WY
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: W. PA to extreme s.e. NE, s. to GA & TX
Native Habitat: Rich, moist stream banks & bottomlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: It can be difficult to grow grass under Ohio buckeye because of the dense foliage. It is one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring and lose its foliage in fall. In hot, droughty situations, leaf blotch, leaf scorch and a variety of other pysiological and pest problems can be serious. In moist habitats, disease and insects are not a problem. Ohio buckeye is escaping into New York.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Squirrels eat seeds. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers.
Warning: All parts of this tree are poisonous if taken internally. Keep away from livestock; seeds and fruits are attractive to children and are dangerous. May be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor. Toxic Principle: Glycoside aesculin, saponin aescin, possibly alkaloids.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2013-09-07