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Aesculus pavia - L.

Common Name Red Buckeye
Family Hippocastanaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The seed is rich in saponins[169]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Rich moist soils in deciduous woods, on the sides of streams and swamp margins[149, 192, 229].
Range South-eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, west to Louisiana.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye


Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye
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Summary

Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal, Rounded.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Aesculus pavia is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked. It can be dried and ground into a powder and used as a gruel. The seed is quite large, about 25mm in diameter[227], and is easily harvested. Unfortunately, the seed is also rich in saponins and these need to be removed before it can be eaten. See also the notes above on toxicity. The following notes apply to A. californica, but are probably also relevant here:- The seed needs to be leached of toxins before it becomes safe to eat - the Indians would do this by slow-roasting the nuts (which would have rendered the saponins harmless) and then cutting them into thin slices, putting them into a cloth bag and rinsing them in a stream for 2 - 5 days[213]. Most of the minerals etc would also have been leached out by this treatment[K].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cancer  Hypnotic  Odontalgic  Salve

The powdered bark is hypnotic and odontalgic. It is used in the treatment of ulcers[149, 192, 227]. A poultice of the powdered seeds has been used in the treatment of cancer tumours and infections, and as a salve for sores[257]. An infusion of the roots has been used as a bath in the treatment of dyspepsia[257].

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Other Uses

Soap  Wood

Saponins in the seed and roots are a soap substitute[149, 169]. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts[K].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Specimen, Street tree, Woodland garden. Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy[1, 11]. Very shade tolerant, it also succeeds in a sunny position[200]. A very ornamental shrub, when dormant it is hardy to about -15°c[184] though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. It prefers a continental climate, growing best in eastern and south-eastern England[200]. Trees are fast-growing in the wild, though they are also short-lived[229]. They can commence flowering when only 1 metre tall[229]. Plants spread by means of suckers[200]. There are a number of named varieties, developed for their ornamental value. Var. 'Humilis' is a low growing form[182]. Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large[11]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[11, 80]. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather[130]. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable[80, 113]. It is best to sow the seed with its 'scar' downwards[130]. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division of suckers in the dormant season[200]. The suckers can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Aesculus californicaCalifornian Buckeye, California HorsechestnutTree12.0 6-10 MLMHNDM31 
Aesculus chinensisChinese Horse ChestnutTree25.0 5-9 SLMHSNM31 
Aesculus flavaSweet Buckeye, Yellow buckeyeTree20.0 4-8 MLMHSNM40 
Aesculus glabraOhio Buckeye, Fetid BuckeyeTree20.0 4-7 MLMHSNM21 
Aesculus hippocastanumHorse Chestnut, European Horsechestnut, Common HorsechestnutTree30.0 4-7 FLMHSNDM343
Aesculus indicaIndian Horse ChestnutTree30.0 6-9  LMHSNM31 
Aesculus parvifloraBottlebrush buckeyeShrub4.0 4-9 SLMHFSNM21 
Aesculus sppHorse chestnutTree30.0 4-9 FLMHSNDM444
Aesculus turbinataJapanese Horse ChestnutTree20.0 5-7 MLMHSNM20 
Aesculus x carneaRed Horse Chestnut, Ruby Red HorsechestnutTree25.0 5-7 SLMHSNM21 

 

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