Ohio Buckeye

Aesculus glabra
Hippocastanaceae (horse chestnuts)

A shrub to medium-sized tree, depending on site conditions, with branches drooping with upcurved ends.

Leaves opposite, palm-shaped compound, with usually 7 leaflets; leaflets 4–6 inches long, 1½-2½ inches wide, broadest in the middle, margin finely toothed; upper surface bluish- or grass green; lower surface paler, smooth.

Bark dark brown when young, smooth; older bark gray and broken into plates roughened by small, numerous scales, foul smelling.

Twigs reddish brown to gray, hairy at first, smooth later; pores orange; leaf scars large.

Flowers April–May, greenish yellow, each flower about ¾ inch long, clustered along an axis 4–8 inches long at the tips of twigs; petals 4, stamens longer than the petals.

Fruits September–October, a light brown, leathery capsule; 1-2¼ inches across; globe-shaped, roughened by blunt spines, splitting into 3 parts; seeds 3, brown, shiny.

Height: to 50 feet, depending on site conditions.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in rich or rocky woods of valleys, ravines, gentle or steep slopes, base of bluffs, edges of low woods, thickets and occasionally on edges of limestone glades.
Distribution in Missouri: 
In the wild, statewide, except for the extreme southeast, where red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is native. The latter has red (not greenish-yellow) flowers with shorter stamens, has usually 5 (not 7) leaflets, and has fruits that lack spines. Both buckeyes are cultivated statewide.
Human connections: 
A popular ornamental tree. The wood is used for fuel, paper, artificial limbs, splints, wooden ware, boxes, furniture, veneer and sometimes for lumber. People have carried buckeyes in their pockets to prevent rheumatism. Other medicinal uses have been made in the past of various parts of the tree.
Ecosystem connections: 
Hummingbirds frequent the greenish yellow, tubular flowers for their nectar.
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