Japanese Horse Chestnut

Japanese Horse Chestnut – Aesculus turbinata

In bloom on May 25th near Chicago; flower stalks (technically called a thryse) are a foot tall. This tree is 24 years old [1]

Family Hippocastanaceae – Horse-Chestnuts & Buckeyes
Introduced to North America in the late 19th century, now widely planted as an ornamental or specimen tree.

Japanese Horse Chestnut Flowers

Flowers are creamy-white with a red blotch, and are borne on an upright thyrse up to a foot tall in late spring. The fruit is a nearly spineless, egg-shaped yellow-green husk with usually 1 brown seed inside [3]. A truly spectacular specimen tree, suitable for formal gardens or wide lawns, Japanese horse-chestnut is tolerant of a wide range of soils. Grows to 30 m under ideal conditions.

The large leaves turn bright orange in autumn. Winter buds are red, glossy, and sticky. Leaves are compound and palmate, with 5 to 7 obovate, stalkless, toothed leaflets all attached at the same point at a central leaf stalk. [2]

Palmate leaflets to 16 inches long; seeds, horse-chestnuts below

conkers (seeds, horse-chestnuts)


1. Japanese Horse-Chestnut, Morton Arboretum accession 555-83-1, photos by Bruce Marlin
2. John White and David F. More, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees – Timber Press
3. Flora of China, Aesculus turbinata

Family Hippocastanaceae – Horse-Chestnuts & Buckeyes
Trees Index | Pine Family | Beech, OakNut Trees | Birch Family | Magnolias | Rose Family

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