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Dwarf Buckeye Aesculus sylvatica

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ES-kew-lus sil-VAT-ih-kah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Aesculus sylvatica, commonly called painted buckeye or dwarf buckeye, is a fast-growing, thicket forming, understory deciduous shrub (6-15’) or small tree (to 30’) that is native to the southeastern U.S. where it is typically found in moist, rich woods or along streams from southern Virginia to Georgia west to Tennessee and Alabama. It is particularly prevalent in Piedmont plateau bottom lands and along the coastal plain. It may be found in the Blue Ridge Mountains in elevations to 3300’.

Its bark is a light gray-brown and smooth.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaves:  Spring                 Blooms:   Early spring, spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Hummingbirds feed on the nectar from the flowers in the spring.  Squirrels eat the seeds. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  For plants in the genus Aesculus, potential disease problems include powdery mildew, rust and anthracnose and potential insect problems include bagworms, Japanese beetles and borers. Leaf scorch (edges brown up) may occur in droughty conditions or on sites exposed to strong wind.

Foliage decline usually occurs throughout summer resulting in loss of leaves in early September.

 

Found in: Forest or natural area in rich woods, along stream banks; landscape, as cultivated flowering woody shrub

 

Site: The Painted buckeye is winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-8 (possibly Zone 6 if sited in a protected location) where it is best grown in rich, moist, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade. Avoid dry soils. It will naturalize in the landscape by underground runners.

Texture: Medium to coarse

Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#hummingbirds#deciduous#understory#poisonous#partial shade#shrub#tree#showy fruits#low flammability#flowering shrub#deer resistant#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#hummingbirds#deciduous#understory#poisonous#partial shade#shrub#tree#showy fruits#low flammability#flowering shrub#deer resistant#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aesculus
    Species:
    sylvatica
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA, (in NC)
    Distribution:
    Piedmont
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. Hummingbirds feed on the nectar from the flowers in the spring. Squirrels eat the seeds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire damage. This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    (a seed) The fruit of the Painted buckeye is a leathery, globular, 3-parted capsule (to 1.5” thick) containing 1 to 3 large, shiny, dark brown seeds commonly known as buckeyes. The seed ripens in late summer at which point the capsules split open to release them.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Painted buckeye has bisexual and male flowers (to 1 1/4” long) that appear in the same flower cluster (each cluster to 8” long) with the bisexual flowers located near the base. The flower color is variable. Its flowers are often yellow, cream-colored or pink, but sometimes wholly red or yellow veined with red. The flowers bloom in showy upright clusters (to 4-6” long) in April-May.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The palmate-compound leaves of the Painted buckeye are among the first to emerge in spring and among the first to drop in late summer to early fall. Each leaf has 5 short-stemmed, oblong-obovate leaflets (each leaflet to 4-6” long). The leaflets are distinguished by having yellow to orange midveins. Its leaves sometimes emerge burgundy-red in early spring before turning to yellow-green above and green beneath.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Its bark is a light gray-brown and smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisonous if ingested. HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Symptoms may include muscular weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor. (Poison parts: Seeds and tea made from leaves and sprouts)
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Glycoside aesculin, saponin aesin, possibly alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems