Not all Buckeyes are created equal. Which is Which??

Published on

If you are not sure what Buckeye or Horsechestnut you have growing in your yard, now is the time to tell. And it makes a difference whether they will retain their leaves or not! Flowers make it easier.






May people just call them Buckeyes! Not so fast. They differ greatly but looking at the flowers closely can really help.







Common Horsechestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum, is often mistaken for an Ohio buckeye.  The common horsechestnut can grow to be a large tree.






It has creamy-white open flowers with a blotch that changes from yellow to red. The stamens and pistil extend beyond the flower petals.






Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra, is a medium sized tree. 



Ohio buckeye in bloom



Its flowers are yellow and the petals form a tubular corolla.  A tubular corolla is a feature of all buckeyes.  Note that for Ohio buckeye the stamens and pistil extend beyond the edge of the petals.



Ohio buckeye panicle



Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus flava,  attains about the same height and spread as common horsechestnut but it has yellow flowers and the reproductive structures are contained within the flower.









Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia, is a small tree usually under 25'.  The flowers can very in color with the best being bright red.






With red buckeye the stamens are even with the edge of the corolla and the pistil extends beyond the edge of the petals.






Ruby Red Flowering Horsechestnut, Aesculus x. carnea, is cross between common horsechestnut and red buckeye. It is a medium sized tree






and has a bright red to pink bell shaped open flowers.






Autumn Splendor Buckeye, Aesculus x arnoldiana ‘Autumn Splendor’ is a cross between A. glabra x  (A. pavia, and A. flava).



'Autumn Splendor' tree in bloom



Its flowers show traits of all three parents.  They are very similar in color to yellow buckeye, the corolla has a shape like that of red buckeye and the stamens and pistil extend beyond the petals. 



'Autumn Splendor' panicle in bloom



The foliage of 'Autumn Splendor' remains green and glossy throughout the growing season.






The horsechestnuts as a group, or those crosses that contain that parentage, are much more susceptible to Guignardia Leaf Blotch.  The initial infections happen during late spring.  The lesions start as small reddish-brown spots bordered with a yellow edge.



Common horsechestnut with leaf blotch



Over time these areas expand causing the leaves to become brown and disfigured. In years with severe Guignardia Leaf Blotch, it can defoliate the tree in late summer.


The buck stops with you






…………….take a look.