Aesculus flava (A. octandra)
- Common Name(s):
- Big buckeye, Sweet buckeye, Yellow buckeye
- Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Yellow Buckeye is a deciduous tree, in the Sapindaceae family that may grow 50 to 120 feet tall but typically grows to 75 feet. The bark sometimes is exfoliating.
The Yellow Buckeye is not recommended as a street tree or for use near homes due to the litter produced, particularly twigs, fruit and falling leaves. A good selection for more remote areas of the landscape including native plant and moist woodland areas.
This is a taprooted tree that once established is difficult to transplant.
Since colonial times, buckeyes have been carried by many school children and adults as good luck charms even though they are poisonous.
Mature trunks (to 2-3’ in diameter) have gray-brown bark that is fissured and scaly. This tree is also noted for having non-sticky buds and non-ridged bud scales.
Seasons of Interest:
Leaves: Fall Bloom: Spring Fruit/Seed/Nut: Spring, fruit is poisonous
Wildlife Value: The Yellow buckeye is moderately deer resistant. Hummingbirds nectar at the flowers, the nuts are eaten by squirrels.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Leaf scorch may occur in dry or windy conditions. Leaf blotch can also be a problem. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, and anthracnose may also occur. Buckeye lacebug, Japanese beetles, bagworms, and borers are infrequent but potentially troublesome. Disease problems for this tree are generally not as severe as those for Ohio buckeye.
- 75 foot
- The Yellow buckeye's flowers are yellow, (each 1/2 to 1” long) in erect panicles (to 6” long) appear in mid-spring. Flowers are followed by the familiar buckeye fruit, which is a globular dehiscent capsule consisting of 1-2 buckeyes encased by a leathery light brown partitioned husk. The husk is smooth on the outside. Fruit on the tree is interesting but not particularly ornamental. When ripe, each buckeye turns red brown with a light eye (hilum).
- Fertile, moist, humusy-sandy loams
- The Yellow buckeye will grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers fertile, moist, humusy-sandy loams. The foliage tends to scorch and generally depreciate in dry conditions. This is a taprooted tree that once established is difficult to transplant.
- Fissured and scaly
- Oblong-rounded crown
- Full sun, part shade
- USA, NC
- Poison Part:
- Seeds and tea made from leaves and sprouts
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor
- The fruit of the Aesculus flava is highly poisonous.
- Toxic Principle:
- Glycoside aesculin, saponin aescin, possibly alkaloids
- HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!
- Found in:
- Forest or natural area in rich woods and along creeks and rivers; landscape as ornamental trees
- 50 feet
- Palmate compound leaf emerges in the spring, each with five spreading, toothed, ovate-oblong leaflets to 4-7" long. The leaves mature to dark green in the summers. Fall color often includes attractive shades of yellow-orange.
NCCES plant id: 940