Aesculus hippocastanum
Common name: 
ES-ku-lus hip-o-kas-TA-num
Sapindaceae, Hippocastanaceae
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, 50-75 ft (15-23 m), upright, oval.  Leaves dark green, opposite, palmately compound, usually 7 but sometimes 5 leaflets, each 10-25 cm long, 5-13 cm wide, base wedge- shaped (cuneate), tip acuminate, margin double serrate; held late into fall and yielding a good yellow color.   Buds large, 6-19 mm and varnished with a sticky gum.  Flowers are white with a blotch of color (yellow then red), borne in 10-30 cm terminal clusters (panicles) in May; very showy. Fruit is green and finally light brown, spiny surface, about 5 cm diam, matures in early fall; contain one, occasionally two, dark brown seeds.
  • Sun or light shade, well-drained soil, pH adaptable, avoid extremely dry situations.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (3) 4     Native to the mountains of Greece and Albania.   Only few cultivars in commerce, the most commonly offered is 'Baumannii', which has double flowers and produces very few fruit.
  • The fruit are inedible and considered poisonous.  The fruit's bitter taste prevents the consumption of large amounts.  The toxic constituents amount to 3-5% of the seed and are a mixture of saponins (aescin), including protoaescigenin (Frohne and Pfänder, 1984).
  • The nut of the horsechestnut, is known as a conker in the U.K.  They are used in a popular children's game, known as conkers, where a nut is threaded onto a strong cord and then each contestant attempts to break their opponent's conker by hitting it with their own. For more infromation see:
  • hippocastanum: the classical Latin name for the horsechestnut, from the Greek hippos, horse, and kastana, chestnut.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: southeast of Waldo, a single tree combined at the base with a red flowering A. × carnea, probably A. hippocastanum was the rootstock.  Also several trees near 9th and Jefferson.


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, spring flowering

    plant habit, spring flowering

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flower cluster

    flower cluster

  • flowers


  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • developing fruit

    developing fruit

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • leaves


  • leaves, comparison

    leaves, comparison

  • fruit


  • fruit at seed drop

    fruit at seed drop

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • fruit and seeds, fall

    fruit and seeds, fall

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • winter buds, comparison

    winter buds, comparison

  • buds, early spring

    buds, early spring