Plant Common Name
Lobed, hand-like leaves and reddish-brown nuts distinguish the Ohio buckeye tree. This broad and round-canopied deciduous tree is native to low, moist soils of the east central United States. Its bark is gray and corky and wart-like when young, and fissured with age. It is among the first of the trees to leaf-out in early spring
The leaves are palmate (hand-shaped) with five to seven elongated lobes of bright green that deepens to dark green. On the tip branches in late spring are found clusters of yellow-green flowers that are pollinated by bees. Soon afterward round to pear-shaped, tan-skinned, short-prickled fruits develop, splitting open in fall to reveal a buckeye - the shiny reddish brown seed, which is not edible. However, squirrels and large birds will use the buckeyes as food. In autumn the leaves a robust orange color that differs from tree to tree.
Plant Ohio buckeye in a moist, well-drained acidic or neutral soil in full sun. It will look its finest if the soil is deep and rich and never dry, especially in full sun locales. Unfortunately, it is not overly ornamental as it is plagued by mildew, leaf blight and sun scorch, and has the least showy flowers of all the horsechestnuts. Nonetheless, it is fully worth preserving a native specimen in a landscape. Grow it as a specimen or cluster on the edge of woodlands or in a lawn. Note that the dense shade cast by this tree (as well as its drooping lower branches) will make turfgrass difficult to grow.
Spring, Summer, Fall