Aesculus parviflora Walt.

Bottlebrush Buckeye

Aesculus parviflora plant

Family - Hippocastanaceae

Habit - Shrub, strongly suckering from rhizomes.

Stems - Multiple from base, woody, erect, branching, to +5m tall. Young growth often reddish-green, glabrous.

Aesculus parviflora barkBark of a mature tree.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate, palmately compound with 5 leaflets. Leaflets glabrous, obovate, acute, margins entire, to +/-10 cm long, +/-5cm broad. Petioles reddish, glabrous to sparse pubescent, to +15cm long.

Aesculus parviflora budsWinter buds.

Aesculus parviflora leaf scarLeaf scar.

Inflorescence - Long terminal panicle to +30cm long(tall). Axis sparse pubescent. Pedicels to 7mm long, pubescent.

Aesculus parviflora inflorescenceInflorescence (partial).

Flowers - Petals 4, equal, clawed, white, glabrous, rugose internally, to 1.6cm long, 3-4mm broad at apex, typically notched at apex. Stamens 6, exserted. Filaments white, to 4cm long, glabrous. Anthers red, 2.5mm long, 1.2mm broad. Style 6mm long, pubescent. Calyx 5-lobed, creamy white. Calyx tube to 5mm long, 2-3mm in diameter, pubescent. Lobes subequal, 2mm long, reddish at apex, rounded.

Aesculus parviflora flower3Flowers.

Fruit - Shiny, smooth capsule, longer than broad, with 1-3 seeds.

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Cultivated.

Origin - Native to southeastern U.S.

Other info. - This plant is primarily found in Alabama but is rare elsewhere, except in cultivation. It is is a popular ornamental because of the many long, attractive panicles it produces in flower. As with all members of the genus, its seeds are toxic.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 7-10-99 and 7-13-00, in Auburn, AL., 3-6-05, and in the Red Hills of Alabama, 6-4-05; also at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 6-18-2011 and 6-30-2017 (SRTurner).