Plant DetailShow Menu

Scarlet Buckeye Aesculus pavia

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ES-kew-lus PAH-vee-ah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Commonly called red buckeye, this deciduous clump-forming shrub or small tree with an irregularly rounded crown. It typically grows 10-20’ tall.  Its bark is splotchy, gray-brown and initially smooth. but with size will develop scaly patches.

Blooms in mid-spring; golfball-sized fruit ripens in fall; large pyramidal, terminal panicles are quite ornamental. Tolerates full sun or partial shade(best); pH adaptable, but prefers acid soil; prefers moist, well-drained, organic soil; no serious pest/disease problems.

Family name Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Regions:  Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:    Early spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  Hummingbirds and bees feed on nectar from flowers in the early spring.  The seeds are eaten by squirrels.  This plant is moderately resistant to damage by deer. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Leaf blotch can be a significant problem for this plant.

Found in: Forest or natural area in low woods and along streams; landscape, as cultivated flowering tree

Form: Clump forming, rounded top

Quick ID Hints:

  • Tree/shrub with 5-part, palmately cmpd leaves
  • Inflorescence is terminal, RED or YELLOW, pyramidal
  • Individual flowers are tubular or campanulate
  • Fruit is a 5-6 cm smooth dehiscent capsule w/1-2 brown seeds
  • Deciduous shrub or small tree to 13'.
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atrosanguinea'
  • 'Humilis'
  • 'Splendens'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#sun#deciduous#small tree#poisonous#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#spring#shrub#wildlife plant#tree#honey bees#nectar plant#hedge#flowering tree#mammals#wet sites#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atrosanguinea'
  • 'Humilis'
  • 'Splendens'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#sun#deciduous#small tree#poisonous#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#spring#shrub#wildlife plant#tree#honey bees#nectar plant#hedge#flowering tree#mammals#wet sites#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aesculus
    Species:
    pavia
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA (in NC)
    Distribution:
    Coastal Plain
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Hummingbirds and bees feed on nectar from flowers in the early spring. The seeds are eaten by squirrels. This plant is moderately resistant to damage by deer.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Paricularly resistant to fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    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
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Smooth, leathery capsule with 1-3 large, shiny, brown seeds each with a pale scar.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Red buckeye has showy, erect, 4-10” long, medium panicles of red to orange-red. Its narrow-tubular flowers appear in early spring. Petals 4-5, glandular at margins; calyx tubular-campanulate; stamens exserted.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Red buckeye has palmately compound, shiny, dark green leaves that are attractive in spring and early summer but usually begin to decline by August. The leaves are 3-6", opposite, with 5 to 7 leaflets. Leaflets are oblong-obovate to elliptic, acuminate, cuneate, serrate, dark green above, glabrous or slightly tomentose beneath, 7-15 cm long; petiole 5-12 cm long.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Patchy
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Its bark is splotchy, gray-brown and initially smooth but with size will develop scaly patches.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stout, olive-brown, with raised brown lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous
    Short-lived
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisonous if ingested. Highly toxic, may be fatal if eaten. Symptoms may include muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor. (Poison part: Seeds and tea made from leaves and sprouts)
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Glycoside aesculin, saponin aescin, possibly alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems