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Similar but less problematic plants:
Aesculus glabra Palmately compound leaves.
Aesculus flava is often confused with:
Aesculus 'Homestead' Inflorescence
Aesculus x arnoldiana
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Aesculus sylvatica Aesculus sylvatica
Acer saccharum subsp. leucoderme  Acer leucoderme
Aesculus flava has some common insect problems:
Lace Bugs
Japanese Beetle
Bagworms in Ornamental Landscapes

Big Buckeye Aesculus flava

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Aesculus octandra
Phonetic Spelling
ES-kew-lus FLAH-vah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Aesculus flava, or Yellow Buckeye, is a deciduous tree, native to eastern North America. It is primarily found in the southern Appalachian mountains and sometimes in the more moderate and moist upland of the Piedmont of North Carolina. In nature, it can be found growing up to nearly 6500 feet in elevation in moist forests and seepy cove forests. In the Piedmont, Yellow Buckeye is primarily found in habitats characterized by moderate temperatures and high amounts of precipitation. 

Typically, the tree will grow to 60 feet high, but in the mountains, it can grow to 90 feet tall and 40 feet wide or more with an oval crown and a 3 foot diameter trunk. When found in the lowlands, it is more typically a smaller tree or shrub. The palmately compound leaves arrive early in the spring, are attractive and have better disease resistance than other buckeyes. The bark sometimes is exfoliating. In spring, erect 6 inch panicles of creamy yellow flowers are quite showy and are followed by 2 to 3 inch fruits containing 1 to 3 seeds in the fall. As with most nut trees, they can produce litter from fruits, twigs and leaves.

Yellow Buckeye performs best in full sun in moist, rich, well-drained, deep, and slightly acidic soils. It doesn't care for poor, clay or dry soils but will tolerate brief flooding and urban conditions. The foliage can scorch and depreciate in dry conditions. Also, keep in mind that this is a taprooted tree that once established is difficult to transplant.

This tree can be used in large settings such as parks, municipal grounds, or large yards for shade. It will do well planted along streams or ponds, in naturalized areas or open woodland settings.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:

Not nearly as susceptible to leaf scorch, leaf spot, leaf blotch, and powdery mildew as other buckeyes but can still occur.  Buckeye lacebug, Japanese beetles, bagworms, and borers are infrequent but potentially troublesome. Disease problems tend to be less severe than those for Ohio buckeye.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#acidic soil tolerant#bee#food source summer#sun tolerant#red#rich soil#food source nectar#Piedmont Mountains FACU#loamy soil#fruits early fall#orange#early summer flowers#flower#showy leaves#sunshine#deciduous#summer fruits#sandy soil#Braham Arboretum#part sun#part shade#neutral ph#late spring flowers#high maintenance#food source pollen#food source#red flowers#full sun#showy#organic soils#shade tree#Coastal FACU#yellow#full sun flowers#pollinators#piedmont#yellow flowers#problem for children#bees#buckeye#woodlands#fruit#well-drained soil#NC native#flowering#mid-spring flowers#hummingbirds#tree#fruits#pollinator plant#problem for cats#squirrels#native#food source hard mast fruit#nectar plant#acidic soil#deer resistant#fall color#bee friendly#pollinator garden#loamy soils tolerant#problem for horses#woody#deciduous tree#loam#flowering tree#small and large mammals#high flammability#problem for dogs#flowers#poisonous#butterfly friendly#sandy soils tolerant#native tree#spring interest#partial sun#nuts#mountains#audubon#native garden#partial shade#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#full sunlight#fall interest#summer interest#pollen plant#butterflies#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aesculus
    Species:
    flava
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The soft, close-grained wood is used for wooden ware, firewood, and pulpwood. Native Americans made a nutritious food from the seeds, after removing the toxic element by roasting and soaking them. People used to carry the nuts for luck.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern USA
    Distribution:
    AL , DC , GA , IL , IN , KY , MD , MS , NC , NJ , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The nectar from the flowers attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. Nuts attract squirrels.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Use caution. The seed is rich in saponins that, although poisonous, are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Open
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Leathery round to oval smooth capsule on a stout terminal stalk with 1 to 3 shiny, dark brown nuts (buckeyes), 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide with a pale scar. Matures in late summer to fall; August to September in North Carolina.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Individual flowers are yellow to red in color with 4 petals, stamens shorter than the petals, styles longer than the petals and curving upward. Form erect panicles up to 7 inches long and 3 inches wide in late spring (April-May). In North Carolina, the flowers bloom from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Palmately compound leaves are 9 to 15 inches long with 5 to 7 oval pointed leaflets that are 4 to 6 inches long and 1-3 inches wide. The stem is as long as the leaflet. They have a wedge-shaped base, long pointed tip, sharply serrate margins with excellent dark green color and lighter undersides. The fall color is yellow and orange.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Scaly
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, light grayish brown developing to large flat scales and plates.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    Heart or shield shaped
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Stout brown stems with orangish lenticels. Terminal buds are orangish-brown and large (1/2 to 3/4 inch) with a sharp point, lateral buds are much smaller. Buds are non-sticky and covered with smooth overlapping scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Problems:
    Messy
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor. It can cause death in humans, livestock and pets.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Glycoside aesculin, saponin aescin, possibly alkaloids in spring leaves and fall seeds.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Seeds