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Aesculus hippocastanum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Hippocastanoideae
Genus: Aesculus
Aesculus glabra Ohio buckeye
Flower of Aesculus x carnea, the red Horse Chestnut

The genus Aesculus (pronounced /ˈɛskjuləs/[1] or /ˈaɪskjuləs/) comprises 13-19 species of woody trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere, with 6 species native to North America and 7-13 species native to Eurasia; there are also several hybrids. Species are deciduous or evergreen. This genus has traditionally been treated in the ditypic family Hippocastanaceae along with Billia,[2] but recent phylogenetic analysis of morphological[3] and molecular data[4] has led to this family, along with the Aceraceae (Maples and Dipteronia), being included in the soapberry family (Sapindaceae).

Linnaeus named the genus Aesculus after the Roman name for an edible acorn. The Eurasian species are known as horse chestnuts while the North American species are called buckeyes. Some are also called white chestnut or red chestnut (as in some of the Bach flower remedies). In Britain, they are sometimes called conker trees because of their link with the game of conkers, played with the seeds, also called conkers.



Aesculus are woody plants from 4 to 36m tall (depending on species), and have stout shoots with resinous, often sticky, buds; opposite, palmately divided leaves, often very large (to 65 cm across in the Japanese Horse Chestnut Aesculus turbinata). Flowers showy, insect-pollinated, with four or five petals fused into a lobed corolla tube, arranged in a panicle inflorescence. Flowering starts after 80–110 growing degree days. The fruit matures to a capsule (fruit), 2–5 cm diameter, usually globose containing 1-3 seeds (often erroneously called a nut (fruit)) per capsule. Capsules containing more than one seed result in seeds being flat on one side. The point of attachment of the seed in the capsule (hilum) shows as a large circular whitish scar. The capsule epidermis has "spines" (botanically: prickles) in some species, other capsules are warty or smooth; capsule splits into three sections to release the seeds.[5][6][7]

The species of Aesculus include:


The most familiar member of the genus worldwide is the Common Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum, native to a small area of the Balkans in southeast Europe, but widely cultivated throughout the temperate world. The yellow buckeye Aesculus flava (syn. A. octandra) is also a valuable ornamental tree with yellow flowers, but is less widely planted. Among the smaller species, the bottlebrush buckeye Aesculus parviflora also makes a very interesting and unusual flowering shrub. Several other members of the genus are used as ornamentals, and several horticultural hybrids have also been developed, most notably the red Horse Chestnut Aesculus × carnea, a hybrid between A. hippocastanum and A. pavia.


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Hardin, JW. 1957. A revision of the American Hippocastanaceae I. Brittonia 9:145-171.
  3. ^ Judd, WS, RW Sanders, MJ Donoghue. 1994. Angiosperm family pairs. Harvard Papers in Botany. 1:1-51.
  4. ^ MG Harrington, KJ Edwards, SA Johnson, MW Chase. 2005. Phylogenetic inference in Sapindaceae sensu lato using plastid matK and rbcL DNA sequences. Systematic Botany. 30:366–382
  5. ^ Hardin, JW. 1957. A revision of the American Hippocastanaceae I. Brittonia 9:145-171
  6. ^ Hardin, JW. 1957. A revision of the American Hippocastanaceae II. Brittonia 9:173-195
  7. ^ Hardin, JW. 1960. A revision of the American Hippocastanaceae V, Species of the Old World. Brittonia 12:26-38

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Sapindales
Familia: Sapindaceae
Genus: Aesculus
Sectio: A. sect. Aesculus - A. sect. Calothyrsus - A. sect.  Macrothyrsus - A. sect. Parryana - A. sect. Pavia
Species: A. assamica - A. californica - A. chinensis - A. flava - A. glabra - A. hippocastanum - A. indica - A. parryi - A. parviflora - A. pavia - A. sylvatica - A. turbinata
Nothospecies: A. ×arnoldiana - A. ×balgiana - A. ×carnea - A. ×hemiacantha - A. ×hybrida - A. ×marylandica - A. ×mutabilis - A. ×neglecta - A. ×worlitzensis
Chimaerae: A. +dallimorei


Aesculus L., Sp. Pl. 344. 1753.

Typus: A. hippocastanum L.


  • Esculus L., Gen. ed. 5. 161. 1754, nom. superfl.
  • Hippocastanum Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4. 1754.
  • Hippocaztanum Raf., Alsog. Am. 70. 1838.
  • Actinotinus Oliver, Hooker’s Icon. Pl. 18: t. 1740. 1888, p.p.
  • Calothyrsus Spach, Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. ser. 2. 2: 62. 1834.
  • Isypus Raf., Fl. Tell. 4: 73. 1838.
  • Macrothyrsus Spach, Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. ser. 2. 2: 61. 1834.
  • Nebropsis Raf., Alsogr. 68. 1838.
  • Oesculus Neck., Elem. Bot. (Necker) 2: 232. 1790, nom. invalid.
  • Ozotis Raf., Alsogr. 71. 1838.
  • Pavia Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4. 28 Jan 1754.
  • Paviana Raf., Fl. Ludov. 87. 1817.
  • Pawia Kuntze, Rev. Gen. 1: 145. 1891.


  • Farr, E. R. & Zijlstra, G. eds. (1996-) Index Nominum Genericorum (Plantarum). 2009 Dec 13 [1].

Vernacular names

Русский: Конский каштан
Svenska: Hästkastanjesläktet
Türkçe: At kestanesi
Українська: Гіркокаштан
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Aesculus on Wikimedia Commons.


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