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Yellow Buckeye Aesculus flava (Aesculus octandra)


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Yellow Buckeye, fruit
credit: Bob Richmond/CCSA

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Family: Hippocastanaceae, Horse-chestnut view all from this family

Description Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) is a species of buckeye native to the Ohio Valley and Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern United States. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 20–47 m tall. It grows in mesophytic forest or floodplains, generally in acid to circumneutral soil.

The leaves are palmately compound with five (rarely seven) leaflets, 10–25 cm long and broad. The flowers are produced in panicles in spring, yellow to yellow-green, each flower 2–3 cm long with the stamens shorter than the petals (unlike the related Ohio Buckeye, where the stamens are longer than the petals). The twigs have a faintly rank odor, but much less so than the Ohio buckeye, Aesculus glabra. The fruit is a smooth (spineless), round or oblong capsule 5–7 cm diameter, containing 1-3 nut-like seeds, 2.5-3.5 cm diameter, brown with a whitish basal scar. The fruit of the Yellow Buckeye is poisonous to humans but can be made edible through a leaching process.

Yellow Buckeye is an attractive ornamental tree suitable for parks and large gardens.

Warning Seeds are poisonous to humans if eaten. Young foliage is toxic to animals. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.

Habitat Canyons & valleys.

Range Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes.