Aesculus flava Aiton
Yellow Buckeye, Sweet Buckeye
Hippocastanaceae (Horse-Chestnut Family)
Synonym(s): Aesculus octandra, Aesculus octandra var. vestita, Aesculus octandra var. virginica
USDA Symbol: AEFL
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. Fruit 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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 75 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Squirrels eat the nuts.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Aesculus flava in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aesculus flava in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aesculus flava
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-05
Research By: TWC Staff