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Products > Aesculus californica
 
Aesculus californica - California Buckeye
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Hippocastanaceae (Horse-chestnut, Buckeyes)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Flower Color: Cream
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 15-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Aesculus californica (California Buckeye) - A very showy small deciduous California native tree that can grow to 45 feet in optimum conditions, however in most gardens it grows to 15 to 20 feet. It is often has a spreading form that is wider than its height with silvery gray bark and a somewhat flattened canopy that holds attractive palmately compound dark green leaves. In late spring it is a striking sight when its sweet scented creamy white flowers (sometimes pink) emerge in their upright terminal clusters that are 6 to 12 inches long. Plant in full sun to light shade. It is hardy to around 0 F. Irrigate occasionally to not at all - this tree will naturally go summer deciduous in response to dry or hot conditions, which in some locations in dry years can occur as early as late spring and at other times and locations as late as mid fall. Occasional irrigation in the summer will keep the Buckeye in leaf into the fall and newly emerging leaves in early spring are apple green. This plant is native to the coast ranges of California from the Siskiyou Mountains to Los Angeles below 4,000 feet. The name for the genus was a Latin name for a type of oak bearing edible acorns but was applied by Linnaeus to this genus. The specific epithet is in reference to the plant being from California. The large chestnut brown seeds were treated (boiled and leached repeatedly) to provide an emergency food source by indigenous people when acorns were scare, giving it the common names Buckeye and Indian Chestnut, but the untreated seed are considered poisonous to humans and animals. According to Thomas Fuller and Elizabeth McClintock in their Poisonous Plants of California (UC Press 1986). The leaves, flowers, twigs, bark and seed of Aesculus californica are all considered to be toxic as they contain Aesculin, a coumarin glycoside. Our plants from seed collected from a pink flowering form.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Aesculus californica.
 
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