The Buckeye is a symbol of the state of Ohio. The nut from the Buckeye tree, also called a buckeye, is even the mascot for the Ohio State University. (I can’t imagine many other schools choosing to be represented by a toxic nut!) No surprise, then, that the Chadwick Arboretum has several spectacular Buckeye trees in their collection.
Dawes Arboretum also has an amazing collection of Ohio Buckeyes (Aesculus glabra), Buckeyes (Aesculus pavia), Bottlebrush Buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) and Horse-Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees. The Buckeyes and Horse-Chestnuts look quite similar, but the Horse-Chestnut is a European native. The Buckeye is native to North America. Both are pretty spectacular when in bloom. The blooms persist for a few weeks…take a look at few!
I find myself especially drawn to the ruby red horse-chestnut. The individual blossoms almost look orchid-like to me. Alas, they get much too large to have one in our garden. But Buckeyes tend to be smaller, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to squeeze one in somewhere! For now, I’ll have to content myself with visiting some of the spectacular specimens in our area.