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Horsechestnut   arrow

Aesculus hippocastanum (es’-ku-lus hip-o-kas-ta’-num)
Family: Sapindaceae, Soapberry

Key Steps


Horsechestnut leafLeaf: Usually 7 (rarely 5 or 9) leaflets, each 4-10 inches long, wedge-shaped, long pointed base, short pointed tip, doubly toothed margin.  No petiolules (leaflet stalk).

Buds: Terminal bud is sticky, dark brown, large (½ inch or longer) and oval.  Lateral buds are smaller and have 4 or more pairs of scales.

Leaf Scar: Large, shield-shaped or triangular.  5-7 bundle scars that are in pairs of 2 or 3.

Stem: Stout (1/4 inch thick or more).  Large lenticels.  No odor when crushed.

Pith: Large, continuous, pale.  May be six-sided.

Bark: Dark gray-brown.  Exfoliating with age.

Flowers: Large showy, upright, white terminal panicle.

Fruit: Prickly, large ball containing 1-3 large shiny brown nuts.  Ball cracks into 3 segments.  Nuts are inedible and narcotic.

Habit: Medium size, dense, shade tree.  Round canopy. 20-40 feet tall.

Culture: Moderate moisture requirements.  Needs lots of room to spread.  Avoid highly alkaline situations.

Note: Seeds, young stems and leaves of horsechestnut may be toxic to livestock.