Aesculus californica
Aesculus californica
UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Aesculus californica

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Common name: California Buckeye
                                               
Special Notes:  Doesn’t look like much in the fall season, but this deciduous tree will leaf-out beautifully in the early spring. Long spires of creamy flowers put on a show. Leathery fruit follows, which open to reveal large golden seeds.  Usually long-lived and multi-trunked, the trunks become sculptural in old age.  Early deciduous, usually losing its leaves in midsummer. It has toxic fruit which Native Americans used for food by leaching first. They also used the fruit to stupify fish to catch them easily. A very special tree, native to California only.
 
Family: Sapindaceae
Native to: Only California
Form: Big shrub or tree
Size: 15-40’
Blooms: Spring
Attracts: Celastrina echo (one of the gossamer-winged butterflies)
Flowers: 8-12” panicles of creamy flowers
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moist to dry soil. Drought tolerant.
Hardiness: 20 degrees F
Soil: Adapts to most soils