Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut – Conker Tree

General Information
Common Name Horse Chestnut, Conker Tree
Scientific Name Aesculus hippocastanum
Sun Tolerance Full Sun
Height 20 - 30 m (65 - 100 ft)
Spread 12 - 20 m (40 - 65 ft)
Growth Rate Moderate
Bloom Time Summer
Color Green
Flower Color White
Type Tree
Native South East Europe
Classification
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Sapindales
Family Hippocastanaceae – Horse-chestnut family
Genus Aesculus L. – buckeye
Species A. hippocastanum

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut
Aesculus hippocastanum commonly known as Horse Chestnut also called Conker Tree is a native of the Balkans and Asia Minor tree, though it also appears self-sown in some woodland. The display of prominent showy white blossoms on its arching branches is its chief attribute.
The shoots are stout, becoming pale grey or brown, with large horse-shoe-shaped scars left by the fallen leaf-stalks. The brown winter buds large sharply pointed and thickly coated with resin. The shoots flush in March and the foliage soon puts on the appearance of a damaged wing of a bird later expanding magnificently. The leaves consist of from five to save leaflets with serrated margins, and palmately arranged from a long stalk. Each leaflet becomes broader towards the tip, and then suddenly narrows to a point, the largest may reach almost a foot in length. The upper surface is a dismal dark green and hairless, the lower is covered with woolly down which soon disperses. In autumn the leaves change to yellow and gold or in parts to red.
Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut
The handsome candelabra-like inflorescence, with hermaphrodite flowers, is erect in mid-May, and may exceed a foot in height, having more than a hundred white flowers that have delicate petal edges frilled in variable patterns and a yellow blotch that turns pale crimson. The inedible fruit, one or more lustrous red-brown seeds (‘conkers’), ripens in early autumn within a tough, thick, leathery and spiky husk which has changed form pale green to dark brown. The bark is dark grayish-brown, smooth in young trees but later breaking into unevenly sized and shaped pink-brown scales, which are eventually shed. The white wood is too soft and brittle to have much practical use.
The trunk is often fluted and spreading somewhat at the base. Though self-sown trees are common, it is a ornamental rather than a woodland tree.


Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut : Seeds


Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut : Flowers

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut : Leaves

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut : Flowers

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut : Young Planet

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse Chestnut

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