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Horse-chestnut

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Introduced as a parkland species and now found widely in the countryside.


 

Horse Chestnut: it came it saw it conkered

Post date: Friday, 28 October, 2016 - 21:15

Of all our mature broadleaf trees surely the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) has the most striking display of flowers. The wonderful flower spikes make the tree look like an enormous candelabra! It was the flower display that led the horse chestnut to be here in this country in the first place. It is native to the Balkans and Asia Minor and was brought here to adorn our parklands as long ago as the sixteenth century. 

The horse chestnut is a prominent tree, usually found in avenues and in clusters in ornamental parks but some have self seeded elsewhere. Not only are the flower spikes and the conkers key features of this tree, it has a large, imposing frame, large seven-lobed leaves and, of course, has 'sticky buds' in spring. At junior school we used to put some twigs with sticky buds in a jam jar of water and watch them open

The centuries old game of 'conkers' is, I am told, dying out as schools have banned it on health and safety grounds but when I was young we used to collect the conkers to use in conker fights and buried one for a while which we thought would make harder! I guess if you do not go back and unearth it then there is a pretty good bet that a horse chestnut tree will appear. 

Not a native but welcome none the less I think.


 

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Horse-chestnut
Scientific Name Aesculus hippocastanum
Family Horse-chestnut family - Hippocastanaceae
Status Occasional
Interest Level
1
Species Family Deciduous Trees
Flower Colour Group White
Visible
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
Preferred Environment
Look for The wonderful display of white 'candelabra' flowers
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
W1: Broad-leaf Woodland Occasional