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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Aesculus flava Tree in full bloom
Aesculus sylvatica Aesculus sylvatica
Aesculus pavia Plant in bloom
Aesculus x carnea has some common insect problems:
Japanese Beetle

Aesculus x carnea

Previously known as:

  • Aesculus rubicunda
Phonetic Spelling
ES-kew-lus BI KAR-nee-a
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Aesculus x carnea, or Red Horsechestnut, is a deciduous shade tree in the Sapindaceae family (and was formerly listed in the Hippocastanaceae family). It is a hybrid between the larger A. hippocastanum and the smaller A. pavia and probably originated in Europe in 1812. The genus name, Aesculus, comes from the Latin describing an oak that bears edible acorns. The species name, carnea, means flesh colored or deep pink and refers to the color of the flowers. Although this is a hybrid, new plants will come true from seed.

The flowers of the Red Horse Chestnut (pink or red depending on cultivar) are the main attraction of this medium sized tree. After the flowers bloom, they are followed by the seed pods, which can be messy and may be a drawback of this tree in the landscape. However, in the right location such as a large residential lawn, park, city parkway, or large parking median with good drainage, it can be a striking specimen shade tree. Initially, the tree has a pyramidal shape, but after 5 to 7 years, it matures into a dense rounded form. The tree grows best in moist acidic fertile soils, but will tolerate average soils with good drainage. Minimal pruning is required, but if it is pruned, make sure that the bark does not crack with sudden exposure to the sun. Once established, this tree is difficult to transplant due to its large taproot.

Diseases, Insects and Other Plant Problems:

Disease is less of a problem than with most horse chestnuts but it may develop powdery mildew causing early leaf drop. Dry conditions cause leaf scorch and, although it is more drought tolerant than most Aesculus, it does not thrive in drought conditions. Leaf blotch can be a significant problem. Bagworms, Japanese beetles and borers are infrequent but potentially troublesome. In general, this tree has better disease resistance and its foliage is less apt to depreciate as the growing season progresses than is the case with A. hippocastanum

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Briotii'
    Resistant to leaf blotch. Dark rosy red flowers with yellow throats.
  • 'Fort McNair'
    Resistant to leaf blotch. Dark green foliage. Flowers reddish-pink with yellow throats.
  • 'O'Neil's Red'
    Rarely available, deep red flowers in foot-long panicles.
  • 'Rosea'
'Briotii', 'Fort McNair', 'O'Neil's Red', 'Rosea'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#specimen#pink flowers#red flowers#tree#dense#poison nut#pollinator plant#provides shade#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Briotii'
    Resistant to leaf blotch. Dark rosy red flowers with yellow throats.
  • 'Fort McNair'
    Resistant to leaf blotch. Dark green foliage. Flowers reddish-pink with yellow throats.
  • 'O'Neil's Red'
    Rarely available, deep red flowers in foot-long panicles.
  • 'Rosea'
'Briotii', 'Fort McNair', 'O'Neil's Red', 'Rosea'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#specimen#pink flowers#red flowers#tree#dense#poison nut#pollinator plant#provides shade#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aesculus
    Species:
    x carnea
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Distribution:
    throughout Europe and the United States
    Wildlife Value:
    bees and hummingbirds
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is more drought tolerant than most Aesculus
    Edibility:
    The nut is rich in saponins, which though poisonous, are poorly absorbed by the human body. Saponins are quite bitter and can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water or thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Pyramidal
    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
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    The Red Horse Chestnut has a prickly seed pod containing 2 to 3 glossy brown 1 to 3 inch nuts in capsules that are poisonous.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Eight inch panicles of pink or red cone-shaped flowers with yellow throats appear in mid-spring among dark green leaves. The flowers attract bees and hummingbirds.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Palmately compound dark green, 4 to 8 inch leaves with 5 to 7 lobes; no appreciable fall color. The leaves have a red mid-rib. Leaves are covered with coppery colored hairs in early spring and look very interesting as they unfold.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Round
    Bark Description:
    The gray-brown bark remains smooth for years, eventually developing small fissures with rounded plates.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Cross Section:
    Oval
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    C-shaped, Cresent shaped
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Main stems and lateral stems are thick stem coming off the trunk and provide a course texture in winter. Young stems are green and may have a copper coating from the buds in early spring.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Messy
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Causes gastrointestinal disturbances. Severe vomiting and diarrhea, depression or excitement, dilated pupils, coma, convulsions.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Aesculin (a glycosidic saponin), other saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits