Family: Hippocastanaceae
Common Name: Horse Chestnut, Buckeye

This genus of about 15 species of hardy, deciduous trees and shrubs are native to south-eastern Europe, north-eastern Asia and North America. Generally quite large, some reaching 30 m (100 ft), they are useful for large gardens, avenues and parks. While lasting only from late spring to early autumn, their beautiful foliage provides excellent shade and decoration. The attractive flowers are white, yellow or red, and sometimes variegated. This is one of the most handsome of all deciduous trees.


A. x carnea, red horse chestnut, zone 4, is exceptionally beautiful, with large clusters of soft rose-colored flowers. It grows to a height of about 15 m (50 ft). It will thrive if protected from hot summer winds. A. x carnea 'Briotii' has larger clusters of deeper red flowers.

A. hippocastanum, the common horse chestnut, has a large, spreading, rounded head and clusters of white flowers with red patches. It grows well only in truly cool climates where it can reach heights of 30 m (100 ft). Parts of this plant, including the nuts and nectar, are very poisonous if eaten.

A. indica, Indian or Himalayan horse chestnut, zone 7, grows to 18 m (60 ft). Although similar to the common horse chestnut, the sprays of white flowers are marked with yellow and red and are much longer.

A. Pavia, red buckeye, is a small North American shrub with red flowers that grows to 4 m (13 ft).


Horse chestnuts flourish in temperate to cool and moist Climates. Most are easily grown in deep, well-drained soil, with some protection from strong winds. Propagate by seed in autumn, although this tree frequently sows its own seeds. It can also be increased by side grafting, budding or root cutting.


Most species are hardy in zone 5.