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Wet mesic woods.
Much of the central and eastern US. Absent from many of the mid-Atlantic states and VT, CT, MA, and RI in New England.
Small tree, to 15 m, with a wide-spreading, rounded form. Leaves opposite, palmately 5(-7) foliate, on long petioles; leaflets mostly less than 12 cm long; bright green, turfs of hair in the vein axils below. Flowers greenish-yellow, in terminal panicles, calyx connate and 5-lobed. Fruit a spiny capsule often containing a single, large, shiny seed with a conspicuous light spot.
Flowers April to May
Wetland indicator: Facultative Upland
Leaves emerge early in the spring. The buckeyes get their name for the light spot on the dark, shiny seed that gives in the appearance of a buck's eye.
The 3rd and 4th images are of Aesculus flava Ait., the yellow buckeye. It is native to the southeast excluding FL, reaching its northernmost range in PA and NJ. The tree was photographed in a park south of Syracuse, NY, well north of its natural range.
Images 5 and 6 are of a southern species of buckeye Aesculus pavia L., the red buckeye. It does not occur naturally north of southern Illinois but is cold hardy much further north. It is an important nectar source for ruby-throated hummingbirds early in the spring.
Images 7, 8 and 9 are of another southern species Aesculus parviflora Walt., bottlebrush buckeye. It occurs naturally in parts of PA and NJ, and also AL, GA, and SC in the south. It forms large colonies by suckering.
Dirr, Michael A.
1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental
Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
5th ed. Champaign, Illiois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C.
Gleason, Henry A.
and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States
and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY
Swink, F. and G.
Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
USDA, NRCS. 2002.
The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA
© Michael Hough 2004