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Aesculus californica

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
California buckeye
Cultivar(s):
'Canyon Pink'
Categories:
Poisonous Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Comment:

Deciduous shrub or sometimes small tree with and open flat-topped crown and short trunk.  It has an early leaf drop and is deciduous much of the year revealing its smooth silver-gray bark.  Branchlets are reddish gray-brown when young.  This plant usually breaks dormancy in late winter, but will return to dormancy during hot, dry summer months. 

Seasons of Interest:

Leaf: Early fall Bloom: Spring/Summer May-June  Fruit/Nut/Seed: Summer/Fall  Buds:  Winter, sticky  Bark: Winter, attractive gray

Wildlife Value:  Nectar from flowers attracts, hummingbirds and butterflies.  Tolerates damage by deer. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Bagworms, Japanese beetle and borers can be problems.  It can suffer from powdery mildew, rust, and anthracnose.  Responds to intense heat, wind or drought stress by dropping leaves.  All parts of California buckeye are poisonous to humans if ingested.

Height:
15-30 ft
Foliage:
Opposite, shiny dark green palmately divided leaves with 5 narrow-elliptic leaflets (each to 6” long) with fine marginal teeth.
Flower:
Long (4-12”), terminal clusters of creamy white or pinkish fragrant flowers appear from May-June. The stamens are longer than the 5 petals. The fruit is a smooth, pear to fig-shaped leathery capsule with 1-3 large, brown, shiny seeds, each with a pale scar (the "buck's eye").
Zones:
7-8
Site:
Full sun to partial shade. Needs to be planted in a protected area north of zone 6. Preforms best in medium moisture, well-drained soil.
Form:
Flat topped crown
Family:
Sapindaceae
Origin:
California
Poison Part:
Seeds and tea made from leaves and sprouts
Poison Delivery Mode:
Ingestion
Symptoms:
Muscular weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor
Toxic Principle:
Glycoside esculin, saponin aescin, possibly alkaloids
Severity:
HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!
Found in:
Landscape as cultivated woody shrub
Width:
15-30 ft
Growth Rate:
Moderate
Tags:
flowering tree, deciduous, fall color, winter interest, birds, small tree, pollinator, fragrant, hummingbirds, butterflies, wildlife, deer resistant, showy

NCCES plant id: 939

Aesculus californica Leaves
Eugene Zelenko, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Aesculus californica Fruit
John Morgan, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Aesculus californica Aesculus californica
James Gaither, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Aesculus californica Flowers
John Rusk, CC BY - 2.0