Damask Red Horse Chestnut – Aesculus x carnea ‘Plantierensis’

Damask Red Horse Chestnut  
Family Hippocastanaceae
Damask Red is named for its luscious pink
and scarlet springtime blossoms. Hardy in Zones 5-7

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Damask Red Horse Chestnut
 At 45 years old, this Damask Red horse chestnut is about 25 feet tall. Aesculus x carnea 'Plantierensis'

This hybrid of A. hippocastanum and Aesculus pavia has very large, dark green leaves composed of five to seven leaflets, and will ultimately reach a height and spread of 30 to 40 feet.

Although deciduous, Red horse-chestnut does not produce any appreciable fall color and is well-suited for use as a specimen. The tree is quite striking with dark green, coarse-textured foliage. Pyramidal in shape when very young, Red Horse chestnut develops slowly into a round, very dense shade tree by five to seven years of age, and is outstanding in the landscape for its beautiful springtime display of blossoms. The multitude of pink to bright scarlet blooms appear on erect, eight-inch-long panicles at each branch tip and are quite attractive to bees and hummingbirds. The prickly, rather messy, poisonous seedpods appear in fall.

Flower color: pink; red, pale yellow with bright yellow centers. Flower characteristics: spring flowering; very showy. [2]


Leaf and flower litter in the summer and fall may be objectionable to some people since the leaves are large and decompose slowly. The nuts make good food for wildlife but you may not want it scattered along city streets. They can make great ammunition for throwing at moving objects, windows and other people so locate it accordingly. Makes a great median street tree when provided with some irrigation during drought.

Red horse chestnut will grow in full sun or light shade and prefers moist, well-drained, acid soils but grows in slightly alkaline soil. Plants are moderately tolerant to drought, wind, and salt and resist the heat of the south very well. It holds up well in urban areas, even in restricted and compacted soil spaces. Red Horsechestnut appears to be less susceptible to disease than either of the parents. Trunk bark may crack when exposed to the direct sun so keep it shaded as much as possible by leaving lower branches on small trees and don’t over-prune the tree, exposing the trunk suddenly to sun. [2]

Damask Red Horse Chestnut blossoms

Height: 30 to 45 feet
Spread: 30 to 45 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical canopy with a regular (or smooth) outline, and individuals have more or less identical crown forms. Crown shape: round; pyramidal
Crown density: dense

Leaf arrangement: opposite/sub opposite. Leaf type: palmately compound. Leaflet margin: serrate. Leaflet shape: oblanceolate. Leaflet venation: pinnate. Leaf type and persistence: deciduous. Leaflet blade length: 4 to 8 inches. Leaf color: green. Fall color: no fall color change.

1. Damask Red Horse Chestnut, Morton Arboretum acc. 520-65*2, photos  by Bruce Marlin
2. Edward F. Gilman & Dennis G. Watson, USDA Forest Service Fact Sheet ST-65 “Red Horsechestnut"
3. Flora of China, Aesculus turbinata
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Family Hippocastanaceae – Horse Chestnuts & Buckeyes
Consisting of three genera a 15 species, this small family is sometimes lumped together with Aceraceae (maple) in family Sapindaceae. Many are native to Europe, Asia, and North, Central, and South America.
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