envelope icon phone icon

Content is below menu. Find the page you want, then scroll down. Current page in white text.

About Us

Home

Ideas

Trees

Conifers

Food Forests

Leaf Trees

Birch & Kin

Crabapples

Dogwoods

Lilacs

Lindens

Maples

Mountain Ash

Ninebark

Oak & Walnut

Oleasters

Plum

Poplars

Roses

This & That

Ash

Buckeye

Caragana

Cotoneaster

Hackberry

Hawthorn

Linden

Willows

Inventory

Care

Our Forests

Almanac

Links


If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.
Winston Churchill

Leaf -- Buckeye

Species
Cultivar
Container
Format
Available
(# plants)
Height
(feet)
Price
($/Plant)
Buckeye, Autumn Splendor 1.75 in. Caliper Amaroo Tree Box (100 liter) 3 8.5-8.5 ft. $275.00

Alt

The tree blooms prolifically and is a good pollen and nectar source for bees. Flower panacles are 4 to 7 inches long. Individual flowers are about 3/4" long.

Alt

At close quarters the flower is quite attractive.

Alt

These are the fruit -- conkers.

Alt

These are the nuts. You can see why they can be confused with sweet chestnuts. If you are working with just the nuts, the edible sweet chestnut has a point. The horse chestnut/buckeye is rounded.

Alt

Gives you an idea of what they will look like as they grow.

Alt

When the leaves are young, they are deep red. They will turn green later as they fillout. Buckeye is an early tree to leaf out in spring.

Alt

Here's a winter look showing the branch structure.

Alt

Horsechestnuts are european in origin. As you can see from this picture they get quite large. Probably not something you want in your yard.

Alt

This is the Halowach Tree, right here in Edmonton. This is the only large horse chestnut tree I know of in Edmonton. Many seeds from this tree have been planted, but the success rate is small. Maybe, when we are a zone warmer....

More info and pics o this tree -- including one in full bloom here: Holowach tree

Buckeyes & Horsechestnuts

Aesculus spp

There are various menbers of this family called 'buckeyes'. As far as I know the only one that is truly hardy here is the Ohio Buckeye, or is a A. glabra hybrid. It's a medium size slow growing tree.

Leaves are palmate (like a hand) with several large leaflets connecting at a central point. The whole leaf is often about dinner plate sized.

Fruit is a 'conker' a yellow warty thing with up to 5 nuts inside. Small boys love throwing the conkers at each other.

Growth rate is slow, about a foot a year.

The nut itself is poisonous.

These two trees are similar enough, that when young one can be easily confused. Two key differences:

Horse chestnut gets larger. And it's not as cold hardy. Horsechestnut is mentioned as I expect it become more used as our climate warms.

Care

Soil: Rich, deep fertile, well drained. If you are planting in low lying areas, bring in a dump truck load of top soil, and plant the tree on a pitchers mound. Soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5 (Prairie soils are typically 7.2)

Sun: Does best in partial shade. Leaves will scorch in hot summer wind. This doesn't harm them, but will look bad.

Cultivars

I can usually get buckye in two forms:

*Seed Run ohio buckeye * these are grown from the nuts. They produce pink to orange red fall foliage.

Autumn Splendor Aesculus x arnoldiana 'Autumn Splendor' This is a hybrid between A. flava (yellow buckeye), A. pavia (red buckeye) and A x glabra. This hybrid came out of the University of Minnesota. In the fall is goes red, bright scarlet by one source, maroon according to another. It is smaller than the species buckeye getting only about 30 feet. More scorch resistant than Ohio Buckeye.

This cultivar is usually grafted onto the common Ohio buckeye.

Both of these are hardy to zone 2.

Caution: Poison.

Buckeyes and sweet chestnuts

Despite a similarity in appearance of the nuts, buckeyes are not edible by people. The nuts contain aescin, a glycosidic saponin. Symptoms include Depression, twitching, inflammation of the mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, hyper excitability, dilated pupils, loss of coordination, coma. Young puppies and toddlers are most at risk. More mature animals and kids will stop eating quickly due to the bitter taste. Few will eat a lethal dose, but mild symptoms include severe gastroenteritis with vomiting, and diarrhea. Induce vomiting to reduce further absorbtion. Stomach pump and lavage may be in order.

For cattle, severe poisoning occurs at about .5% of body weight of mashed nuts. For a 150 pound human this would translate to about 3/4 pound of nuts. About a cup and a half.

Leaves are toxic to horses. Poisoning initially presents as colic. Horses can't vomit, so they need their stomach pumped.

Squirrels tolerate it the poison in the nuts.

Nuts may present choking hazards to little people.

Honeybees

I found one report that buckeye flowers were poisonous to honeybees -- last thing we need right now. More investigation (Search buckeye poisonous bees) found that only the california buckeye (Aesculus californica) is a problem for honey bees, but not local native bees. Reports on beekeeper forums where ohio buckeye, red buckeye, yellow buckeye and european horsechestnut are common, report no problem.

If you want to use the nuts https://youtu.be/-kQ9sA5ONxA had details how to process the nuts for eating. Shatter the nut. Boil for about 20 minutes. Mash the nuts to make them much like mashed potatoes. Add water to make a thin gruel, separate the skins and discard. At this point you can mash any lumps. Filter to separate water. Add more warm water, stir, soak, filter. Taste. If still bitter, continue washing. The resulting mush is bland, but is about 80% carbs, 5% protein.

Aescin and it's related chemicals can be used medicinally for treating varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and phlebitis. It's also a blood thinner. It interacts with lithium, some diabetes drugs, other blood thinners. Normal dosing is 50 mg aescin. In short: be cautions and do your homework.


Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Interesting? Share this page.

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 8 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


Back to Top
Copyright © 2008 - 2018 S. G. Botsford

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.