This slow-growing tree is a great feature or shade tree for large yards. It is native to the Midwest and lower Great Plains region of the United States, and is best-known as the state tree of Ohio. Despite its southern roots, buckeyes can tolerate very cold winter temperatures. Belonging to the genus Aesculus, it is closely related to the horse chestnut. 

This tree species has a lovely rounded shape; growing roughly as wide as it is tall (around 25 feet), with dark green, palmately compound leaves that are reminiscent of a handprint. In spring, cream-coloured flowers appear in branching clusters, which give rise to the unique buckeye fruit; hard seeds encased in spiky shells. In fall, the leaves turn a gorgeous shade of orange, and the fruits harden and start to drop. They can be unpleasant to step on, and certainly aren’t suitable for human consumption, but they provide visual interest and the squirrels will collect them for use as a winter food source. 

Buckeyes don’t mind cooler temperatures and in fact, prefer partial shade as opposed to full sun exposure. Foliage can become dry and scorched if planted in hot, dry, windy locations, so a spot that is sheltered from hot winds and too much sun and heat is ideal.

Buckeye

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