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Overview

Brief Summary

Hippocastanaceae -- Horsechestnut family

    Robert D. Williams

    Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra), also known as American buckeye,  fetid buckeye, and stinking buck-eye, derives its unflattering common  names from the disagreeable odor that emanates when the leaves are  crushed. The tree is an attractive ornamental, but it has limited  commercial use as sawtimber because of the soft, light wood. The bark and  seeds contain a narcotic glucoside considered poisonous to livestock,  leading many landowners to eradicate it.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

This native tree is about 40-60' tall, forming a single trunk about 1-2' across and a much-branched ovoid crown. At optimal sites, larger trees have been found exceeding 70' tall. The trunk bark is gray and rough-textured, becoming scaly, warty, and slightly furrowed with age. The bark of branches and twigs is gray and smooth. Pairs of opposite compound leaves are produced from young twigs. These leaves are palmately compound with 5-7 leaflets. The slender petioles of the compound leaves are 3-6" long, light green, and glabrous. Individual leaflets are 3-6" long and 1-2" across; they are elliptic or elliptic-oblanceolate in shape, serrated along their margins, and nearly sessile. The upper surface of the leaflets is medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green and usually hairless; sometimes there are tiny hairs along the lower ribs of the central veins. Elongated panicles of flowers about 4-8" long are occasionally produced near the tips of the smaller branches. The upper flowers of a panicle are primarily staminate (male), while the lower flowers are primarily perfect (both male & female). Individual flowers are about ¾–1" long, consisting of 4 greenish yellow petals, green to yellowish green tubular calyx with 5 rounded lobes, 7 strongly exerted stamens, and (for perfect flowers) a pistil with a single exerted style. The petals are held more or less parallel to each other, although the tips of the upper petals may turn upward when a flower is receptive to pollination. Sometimes there is a reddish patch near the base of each upper petal. The stalks of the panicle are light green, becoming tan-colored later in the year. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Usually, only 1-3 perfect flowers in a panicle will develop into seed capsules, which ripen during the fall. Individual seed capsules are 1½–2" across, globoid in shape, and conspicuously prickly. At maturity, the leathery shell of each seed capsule splits open into three parts to release 1-2 large seeds (rarely 3). Individual seeds are about 1–1½" across and more or less globoid in shape; when a capsule contains more than one seed, they are sometimes partially flattened along one side. Each mature seed is dark brown and shiny with a tan-colored "eye" at its apex. The woody root system produces a taproot and lateral roots. This tree reproduces by reseeding itself.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

Ohio Buckeye is the only member of its genus that is widespread in Illinois. It can be distinguished from other Aesculus spp. by one or more of the following features
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

General: Horsechestnut Family (Hippocastanaceae). Native, small trees, most less than 15 m tall (rarely to 45 m), with a dense oval to round crown, branching quite low, sometimes (usually on drier sites) a thicket-forming shrub; twigs thick, red-brown, hairy when young, with large triangular leaf scars; terminal buds large, orangish brown with keeled scales; bark smooth and light gray, becoming rough and scaly. Leaves are deciduous, opposite, palmately compound, leaflets 5­7(-11), oval to obovate or lanceolate, 6-13 cm long with a finely toothed margin, emerging bright green, deepening to dark green, often developing yellow or orange fall color, emitting a strong fetid odor when crushed. The leaves have a somewhat unique shape. Flowers are creamy to greenish yellow, about 1-2 cm long, in large, showy, upright, branched, terminal clusters at ends of leafy branches, only those flowers near the base of the branches of a cluster are perfect and fertile -- the others are staminate; petals 4; stamens longer than petals. Fruits are rounded capsules about 3 cm wide, borne on a stout stalk, with a warty or prickly, thick, leathery husk; seeds 1(-3) smooth, glossy, chestnut-brown seeds, each with a pale scar (the “buck's eye”). The common name refers to its abundance in Ohio and the supposed likeness of the nut to the eye of a buck; other names are derived from the fetid odor of the crushed leaves, bark, broken twigs, and flowers.

Variation within the species: Two morphological segments are said to exist within the species: var. glabra is the northern (northwestern) segment with 5 leaflets, var. arguta the more southern form with 7-11 leaflets and other minor and variable differences in vestiture and leaflet shape. Var. arguta is weakly differentiated and commonly not recognized (see for example Diggs et al. 1999).

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Ohio Buckeye is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in the NW section, where it is absent from natural areas (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous woodlands, wooded valleys along rivers, and rocky wooded slopes in sheltered areas. Ohio Buckeye is sometimes cultivated as a landscape tree.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Ohio buckeye grows mostly on mesophytic sites in western Pennsylvania,  Ohio, and southern Michigan west to Illinois and central Iowa. Its range  extends south to eastern Kansas, southwestern Oklahoma, and central Texas;  east to western Arkansas, Tennessee, and central Alabama with one location  in eastern Mississippi (9). It has been planted in Europe and the eastern  United States; in eastern Massachusetts, Minnesota, and western Kansas  (11).

     
- The native range of Ohio buckeye.


  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Aesculus glabra Willd.:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Adaptation

Ohio buckeye occurs in mixed hardwood forests of bottom lands along river and stream banks and in rich, moist soils of ravines and other steep to gentle slopes, less commonly on drier sites mixed in oak-hickory stands, on limestone slopes in the southwestern portion of the range.

It is shade tolerant and often found in beech-sugar maple woods. In dense stands, side competition and shade foster straight boles and encourage natural pruning of this tree, which otherwise tends to have a large crown that retains branches on the lower portions.

Ohio buckeye is one of the first trees to leaf out in spring. Flowering: March-May, after the leaves appear; fruiting: September-October.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Primarily a species of the east-central US. Var. glabra grows from western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and southern Michigan west to Illinois and south to Tennessee, Alabama, and rarely in Georgia, Mississippi, and states peripheral to the main northern range. Var. arguta (if recognized) is native to upland forests of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. Ohio buckeye is planted in various localities in the eastern US, including localities north and east of its main range. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Ohio Buckeye is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in the NW section, where it is absent from natural areas (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous woodlands, wooded valleys along rivers, and rocky wooded slopes in sheltered areas. Ohio Buckeye is sometimes cultivated as a landscape tree.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Soils and Topography

The buckeye is a moist-site tree and is most frequently found along  river bottoms and in streambank soils. It is often found on the moist  soils of the Early Wisconsin Drift Plain in Indiana (4). Ohio buckeye is  most commonly found growing on soils of the order Alfisols. In the early  1800's buckeye and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) were prominent on  the slope phase of the Miami silty clay loam in Ohio (9). Buckeye made up  about 5 percent of the forest stand on this soil type. Since then its  abundance has diminished.

    Although Ohio buckeye is sometimes found on drier sites such as those  supporting oak-hickory stands, and on clayey soils, it usually grows  slowly in these situations and seldom becomes dominant. It is a shrub,  only 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) tall, on dry habitats in the oak-hickory  association of eastern Oklahoma (9). Ohio buckeye also is found in  hardwood stands on moist sites in the limestone-sink-and-cave section of  the Bluegrass region of Kentucky and is infrequently found on the well  developed flood plains along the Missouri River in southeastern Nebraska  (9).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

The average annual temperature in the growing area of Ohio buckeye  ranges from about 4° to 10° C (40° to 50° F)  (6). Average minimum temperatures are not below -29° C (-20° F)  within its range, but -40° C (-40° F) temperatures have been  recorded where it grows in Missouri and Iowa. Maximum temperatures as high  as 46° C (115° F) have occurred in the western part of its  range. Average annual precipitation ranges from 760 mm (30 in) in Kansas  and Oklahoma to 1020 mm (40 in) in Ohio and western Pennsylvania, and up  to 1400 mm (55 in) in Mississippi and Alabama. Growing-season  precipitation averages 510 to 640 mm (20 to 25 in). Snowfall ranges from 5  cm (2 in) in the southern part of the geographic distribution to 102 cm  (40 in) in the northern part. About 160 days are frost-free in the  northern part of the range and as many as 220 days in the southern part.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Dispersal

Establishment

Seeds of Ohio buckeye ordinarily germinate in the spring after wintering on the ground. Seedlings can grow under some shade, but the species seems to develop best as isolated individuals in openings along streambanks and on other moist sites. Young trees show moderate growth rates and may begin producing fruit at 8 years. Most trees live 80-100 years.

Ohio buckeye can be propagated by seed (stratify 60-120 days at 33-41 F); seeds must be kept moist to avoid loss of viability.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Ohio Buckeye in Illinois

Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)
(bees suck nectar or collect pollen; observations for long-tongued bees are from Robertson, while observations for short-tongued bees are from Krombein et al. as indicated below; short-tongued bees are probably non-pollinating)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn fq, Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora ursina sn cp; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn cp fq icp, Synhalonia speciosa sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia bucephala bucephala sn cp fq, Osmia cordata sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis np (Kr); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena hippotes np (Kr)

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Faunal Associations

The flowers are pollinated by the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and various long-tongued bees, including bumblebees (Bombus spp.), Digger bees (Synhalonia spp.), Mason bees (Osmia spp.), and Anthophorine bees (Anthophora spp.). These floral visitors seek primarily nectar, although some bees also collect pollen. An oligophagous insect, Heterothrips aesculi (Buckeye Thrips), sometimes will feed on the flowers themselves. Other insect feeders of Ohio Buckeye include
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Foodplant / saprobe
pseudothecium of Guignardia aesculi is saprobic on dead, fallen, over-wintered leaf of Aesculus glabra
Remarks: season: 5

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Associated Forest Cover

Ohio buckeye grows in mixed stands with bur oak (Quercus  macrocarpa), chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), white  ash (Fraxinus americana), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis),  sugar maple, black walnut (Juglans nigra), black cherry (Prunus  serotina), honeylocust (Gleditsia triancanthos), Kentucky  coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), shagbark hickory (Carya  ovata), American elm (Ulmus americana), and red mulberry (Morus  rubra) in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky (9). In Indiana, 6 percent  of the trees in a mixed hardwood stand were buckeyes; 39, 11, 16, and 28  percent were sugar maple, American elm, black walnut, and miscellaneous  species, respectively. In another stand in which more than 50 percent of  the trees were beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple, hackberry,  and black walnut, buckeye constituted a little more than 10 percent.

    In the mixed mesophytic climax forests of Marion and Johnston Counties,  IN, in 1819, Ohio buckeye made up 6 and 2 percent, respectively, of the  total number of stems (9), and less than 2 percent of these trees were  more than 46 cm (18 in) in d.b.h. In a few stands, however, it made up as  much as 17 percent of the total stems, ranking second in importance only  to beech.

    Buckeye is a frequent or even a common tree in association with beech,  sugar maple, and American basswood (Tilia americana) in the Wabash  River Basin in southern Illinois and Indiana (9).

    Ohio buckeye is not listed by the Society of American Foresters as a  major or minor component of any of the North American forest cover types  (5), probably because of its relatively minor commercial importance and  its increasing rarity. It is not a pioneer tree and thus is seldom found  on old fields or spoil-bank sites.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Ohio buckeye is relatively free of  insect pests but the sapwood timberworm (Hylecoetus lugubris),  the lacebug (Corythucha aesculi), the chrysomelid (Derocrepis  aesculi), and the walnut scale (Quadraspidiotus  juglansregiae) feed on buckeye (2).

    Ohio buckeye also has relatively few diseases (6). It is susceptible to  a leaf blotch (Guignardia aesculi), which begins as brown spots or  blotches on the leaves and may eventually involve all the leaves, giving  the tree a scorched appearance. This disease may slow the growth rate but  does no permanent damage to the tree and can be controlled on ornamentals.  One of the powdery mildews, Uncincula flexuosa, also attacks the  leaves of buckeye.

    A leaf rust of the Ohio buckeye that occurs in the western part of the  species range was long known as Aecidium aesculi but has now been  established by Baxter as Puccinia andropogonis (3).

    Leaf blotch and leaf scorch, the latter involving a physiogenic response  to heat and drought along urban streets, may be the most serious diseases  (7). Air pollution may be more responsible for the leaf blighting than  heat or drought.

    Because Ohio buckeye leafs out early in the spring, the young leaves are  sometimes killed by frost. This species is capable of withstanding severe  winters, however and has been successfully introduced in Minnesota and  Massachusetts. Moreover, the bole of the tree is not commonly damaged by  frost, and the heavy branches of the crown are seldom severely damaged by  heavy loads of sleet or snow. Apparently buckeye is not susceptible to  sunscald either.

    The common eastern leafy mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum, occurs  on Ohio buckeye, but damage is negligible (7).

    Fungi capable of causing either rot of the central stem or rot at wounds  of living trees include Ganoderma applanatum, Oxyporus populinusPhellinus johnsonianus, and Polyporus squamosus (7). Buckeye  growing in forest stands is usually free of defect caused by decay unless  the bole has been damaged by fire.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Reaction to Competition

Because Ohio buck-eye is often  found in beech-sugar maple stands, it must be classed as shade tolerant.  It only attains good form as a timber tree when it grows in reasonably  dense stands. Side competition and shade foster straight boles and  encourage natural pruning of this tree, which tends to have a large,  branchy crown.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Rooting Habit

No information available.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

No information available.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Seedling Development

The seeds ordinarily germinate in  the spring after wintering on the ground. Germination is hypogeal. If  seeds are to be sown in a nursery, they should be sown in the fall or  stratified about 120 days before spring sowing (11). No  germination has been observed on dry surface soil, even with an ample seed  supply.

    Seedlings can grow under some shade, but the species seems to develop  best as isolated individuals in openings along streambanks and on other  moist sites. No data are available on early growth rates.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Seed Production and Dissemination

Seeds are dispersed from  early September to late October by gravity, by animal activity, and  sometimes by water. The number of hulled seeds per kilogram ranges from  105 to 150 (48 to 67/lb), and most seeds are sound (11). The seeds  have a high moisture content and should be kept moist to avoid loss of  viability.

    Ohio buckeye begins bearing seeds at 8 years but no data are available  on frequency and amount of seed produced (11).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Flowering and Fruiting

Ohio buckeye is  polygamo-monoecious, bearing both bisexual and male flowers. The pale  greenish-yellow flowers appear after the leaves in the spring from March  to May and are borne in upright branched clusters. Only those near the  base of the branches of a cluster are perfect and fertile; the others are  staminate (4,11). The fruit is a leathery capsule containing one,  two, or three seeds. The ripe seed is dark chocolate to chestnut brown,  smooth and shiny, with a large, light-colored hilum so that it resembles  an eye. 'The cotyledons are very thick and fleshy and contain no  endosperm.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert D. Williams

Source: Silvics of North America

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Growth

Growth and Yield

Ohio buckeye generally develops a  strong taproot the first year. Most of the shoot growth occurs early in  the growing season. As a sapling it grows faster than most of the oaks but  slower than yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). In the open,  it is characteristically branchy with a short, knotty trunk.

    Fifty Ohio buckeyes measured in Jefferson County, IN, averaged 20.7 m  (68 ft) in height and 84 cm (33 in) in d.b.h., 91 cm (36 in) above the  ground (9). Apparently these trees were larger in diameter than average  for buckeye, even though the diameter was measured lower on the bole than  the standard breast height of 1.37 m (4.5 ft). This species generally does  not grow taller than 9.1 m (30 ft) and seldom exceeds 21.3 m (70 ft) (9).  In 1978, the largest living tree registered was 116 cm (45.5 in) in  d.b.h., 44.5 m (146 ft) tall, and had a crown spread of 16.5 m (54 ft)  (1). Trees larger than 61 cm (24 in) in diameter are rare. On good  sites, the tree will reach usable sawtimber size at 60 to 80 years of age.  On poor sites, it seldom has the form or size to produce saw logs.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Source: Silvics of North America

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Texas buckeye (Aesculus glabra var. arguta (Buckl.)  Robins.), a shrub or small tree, ranges from southeastern Nebraska  southwest to central Texas(8).

    Hybrids of Aesculus glabra with Ae. octandra (Ae.  marilandica x Booth ex Dippel), Ae. pavia (Ae. x bushii  Schneid.), and Ae. octandra x pavia (Ae. x arnoldiana Sarg.)  have been recorded (8). Intermediate hybrids exhibiting the  characteristics of both species occur as hybrid swarms, or most often,  individual plants of one species have one or more characteristics of the  other species from introgression (4).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Aesculus glabra

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Aesculus glabra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

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Management

Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

This tree is available through most local nurseries. Aesculus `Autumn Splendor' is similar to wild forms but has glossy dark green leaves that remain in good condition throughout the growing season, resistant to leaf scorch, and develops a maroon-red fall color. The Eurasian native horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is occasionally planted as an ornamental shade tree, but Ohio buckeye is more common. Ohio buckeye is often used as an understock for grafting cultivars of other species of Aesculus.

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Leaf scorch and leaf blotch are usually the most serious problems of Ohio buckeye. Leaf scorch, seemingly a response to heat and drought along urban streets, results in browning of the leaf margins. By late summer to early fall the trees look unsightly and are often partially defoliated. Air pollution may be more responsible for this problem than heat or drought. The leaf blotch (Guignardia aesculi) begins as brown spots or blotches on the leaves and may eventually give the tree a scorched appearance. This disease may slow the growth rate but does no permanent damage to the tree and can be controlled on ornamentals.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun to light shade, moist to mesic conditions, and soil containing loam, silt-loam, or clay-loam. This tree should be planted in an area that is protected from prevailing winds, excessive heat, and air pollution, otherwise the leaves may become scalded and diseased. The large seeds can be germinated by planting them in the ground during the fall, or by storing them in moist sand in a refrigerator for 90-120 days (cold stratification). Seeds that are allowed to dry out will lose their viability and fail to germinate.
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Special Uses

The seeds as well as the bark of Ohio buckeye are reported to be  poisonous, and the Aesculus native to Illinois is known to contain  a poisonous narcotic glucoside (9). The young shoots of buckeye are  poisonous to cattle, and landowners in Indiana have exterminated buckeye  in many areas because the seed is considered poisonous to livestock (9).  On the other hand, some buckeye seed are apparently eaten by squirrels. In  Ohio, it constitutes from 2 to 5 percent of the food of eastern fox  squirrels during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Other studies in  Ohio list buckeye as an auxiliary food that was sampled by squirrels in  September but not eaten in quantity (9). Thus, it seems probable that the  use of buckeye seed for food by animals is not a limiting factor in its  reproduction.

    Fox squirrels in Illinois were observed eating the pith from terminal  twigs (6). Buckeye pith contains 66 percent raffinose, a sweet-tasting  18-carbon sugar that is much sweeter and contains potentially more energy  than sucrose.

    The wood is light and soft and is used for pulpwood, woodenware, and  occasionally for lumber(10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Uses

Poisonous Plant: All parts of the plant (leaves, bark, fruit) are highly toxic if ingested – because of the glycoside aesculin, the saponin aescin, and possibly alkaloids. Symptoms are muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor. Many landowners have eradicated it to prevent livestock poisoning. Native Americans ground buckeye to use as a powder on ponds to stun fish.

Commercial: The soft, lightwood of Ohio buckeye has limited commercial use as sawtimber and it is of little commercial importance. It is used for making artificial limbs because it is light, easily worked, and resists splitting; it is also used in small quantities for various kinds of woodenware, crates, veneer, and toys. Pioneers used the wood for cabin structure and furniture.

Ornamental: The tree is an attractive ornamental, best in open, natural settings or parks because of its broad crown. It also is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental shrub.

Other: Buckeye seeds have sometimes been carried as good-luck charms and to prevent rheumatism. Despite the poisonous properties to humans and livestock (below), squirrels are known to eat the raw seeds. Native Americans ate roasted seeds as a starchy meal.

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Wikipedia

Aesculus glabra

The tree species Aesculus glabra is commonly known as Ohio buckeye, American buckeye, or fetid buckeye. Glabra is one of 13-19 species of Aesculus also called "horse chestnuts"

It is native primarily to the Midwestern and lower Great Plains regions of the United States, extending southeast into the Nashville Basin.[1] It is also found locally in the extreme southwest of Ontario, on Walpole Island in Lake St. Clair, and in isolated populations in the South.[1] It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15 to 25 metres (49 to 82 ft) tall.

The leaves are palmately compound with five (rarely seven) leaflets, 8–16 cm (3.1–6.3 in) long and broad. The flowers are produced in panicles in spring, yellow to yellow-green, each flower 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) long with the stamens longer than the petals (unlike the related Yellow Buckeye, where the stamens are shorter than the petals). The fruit is a round or oblong spiny capsule 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) diameter, containing 1 to 3 nut-like seeds, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) in diameter, brown with a whitish basal scar.

The fruits contain tannic acid, and are poisonous to cattle, and humans.[2] Native Americans would blanch them, extracting the tannic acid for use in leather.

Symbolism and uses[edit]

Foliage and Fruit
Dried Buckeye Nuts

The Ohio buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, and its name is an original term of endearment for the pioneers on the Ohio frontier, with specific association with William Henry Harrison. Capt. Daniel Davis[3] of the Ohio Company of Associates, under Gen. Rufus Putnam, traversed the wilderness in the spring of 1788, and began the settlement of Ohio. Davis was said to be the second man ashore at Point Harmar, 7 April 1788, and he declared later that he cut the first tree felled by a settler west of the Ohio River, a "buckeye" tree. Additionally, Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, another founder of that same pioneer city of Marietta, had a tall and commanding presence; he greatly impressed the local Indians, who in admiration dubbed him "Hetuck", meaning eye of the buck deer, or Big Buckeye.[4][5] Subsequently, the word came to be used as the nickname and colloquial term for people from the state of Ohio[6] and The Ohio State University's sports teams. The Ohio State University adopted "Buckeyes" officially as its nickname in 1950,[7] and it came to be applied to any student or graduate of the university.

The buckeye candy, made to resemble the tree's nut, is made by dipping a ball of peanut butter fudge in milk chocolate, leaving a circle of the peanut butter exposed. These are a popular treat in Ohio, especially during the Christmas and NCAA college football seasons.

Closeup of trunk

In addition to using the tannic acid for leatherworking, Native Americans would roast and peel the nut, and mash the contents into a nutritional meal they called "hetuck".[8]

The buckeye nuts can also be dried, turning dark as they harden with exposure to the air, and strung into necklaces similar to those made from the kukui nut in Hawai'i.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Aesculus glabra Range Map". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  2. ^ "Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System: Notes on poisoning: Aesculus glabra". Digir.agr.gc.ca. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  3. ^ Davis, George L. (1884) Samual Davis of Oxford MA and Joseph Davis of Dudley MA and their Descendants Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcestor, MA
  4. ^ Hildreth, S. P. (1852) Early Pioneer Settlers of Ohio, H. W. Derby and Co., Cincinnati, Ohio , p. 237.
  5. ^ Ohio Division of Forestry, Ohio…The Buckeye State, Ohio Department of Natural Resources brochure (rev 11/1998).
  6. ^ http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/18/education/pdf/buckeyestate.pdf
  7. ^ Walsh, Christopher (2009). Ohio State Football Football Huddleup, Triumph Books (Random House, Inc.), ISBN 978-1-60078-186-5, p. 120.
  8. ^ "Ohio Department of Natural Resources - camping, boating, fishing, hunting, biking, hiking in Ohio". Dnr.state.oh.us. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Darbyshire, S. J., & Oldham, M. J. (1985). Ohio buckeye, Aesculus glabra, on Walpole Island, Lambton County, Ontario. Canad. Field-Nat. 99: 370-372.
  • Farrar, J.R. (1995). Ohio Buckeye. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. (Markham, Ontario) and the Canadian Forest Service (Ottawa). pg. 157. are the size of colemans nuts
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