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Aesculus flava (Sweet buckeye)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Aesculus flava

Aesculus flava Aiton

Sweet buckeye, Yellow buckeye

Hippocastanaceae (Horse-Chestnut Family)

Synonym(s): Aesculus octandra, Aesculus octandra var. vestita, Aesculus octandra var. virginica

USDA Symbol: aefl

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Yellow buckeye or sweet buckeye is an irregular to upright-oval, canopy tree, 50-75 ft. tall, with stout, picturesque branches which commonly sweep the ground. The bark sometimes is exfoliating. Creamy yellow, upright flowers panicles appear in late spring. Palmately-compound, deciduous leaves turn orange to red in the fall. Nuts are encased in a 2-3 in., tan husk.

The largest of the buckeyes, it is abundant in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Native Americans made a nutritious food from the seeds, after removing the toxic element by roasting and soaking them.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , DC , GA , IL , IN , KY , MD , MS , NC , NJ , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: S.w. PA & w. along Ohio R., s. to extreme w. SC & n. AL
Native Habitat: Rich woods from river bottoms to mt. tops

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Sweet buckeye is not as troubled by foliar diseases as A. glabra, but needs protection from wind which causes leaf scorch. This tree must be planted in moist, rich, well-drained soil.


Use Wildlife: Squirrels eat the nuts.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Either stratify the seed or plant fresh seed in the fall, 2 in. deep, allowing it to naturally stratify during the winter.
Seed Treatment: Stratify fresh seed for 4 months.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Aesculus flava in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aesculus flava in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aesculus flava


Record Modified: 2007-12-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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