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Useful Temperate Plants

Aesculus flava

Sol.

Sapindaceae

+ Synonyms

Aesculus lutea Castigl.

Aesculus lutea Wangenh.

Aesculus maxima D.Drake

Aesculus octandra Marshall

Aesculus pavia flava (Sol.) Kuntze

Pavia bicolor Raf.

Pavia discolor Sweet

Pavia flava Moench

Pavia hybrida DC.

Pavia lutea Poir.

Pavia neglecta G.Don

Pavia reticulata Raf.

Paviana flava Raf.

Pawia octandra Kuntze

Common Name: Sweet Buckeye

Aesculus flava
Cultivated tree
Photograph by: Schlurcher
Creative Commons License
Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava

General Information

Aesculus flava is a deciduous tree with an oblong-rounded crown; it can grow up to 27 metres tall with a tall, straight bole up to 90cm in diameter[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is sometimes grown in larger gardens, parks etc as an ornamental.

Known Hazards

The plant is poisonous, containing the glycoside aesculin, the saponin aescin, and possibly alkaloids. The symptoms include muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor - death has been known to result[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].
The seed is rich in saponins. Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching 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 raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded 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 and make them easy to catch[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Eastern N. America - Pennsylvanica to Tennessee and west to Ohio

Habitat

Rich river-bottoms and mountain slopes[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
]. Woodland on moist rich soils[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height20.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Aesculus flava is found in a wide variety of climates within its native range, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,860 metres. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature can range from 10 - 16°c; with an average annual minimum temperature no lower than -18°c, and average annual maximum temperatures not exceeding 38°c[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
]. Although the dormant plant is very cold-tolerant, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late spring frosts[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. The frost-free period ranges from 150 - 210 days. Average annual precipitation ranges from 990 - 2,130mm, with an average annual snowfall ranging from 0 - 102cm[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].
Prefers a deep loamy, moist but well-drained soil but is not too fussy[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
This is one of the first trees to come into growth in spring, and can then be susceptible to frost damage[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].
Plants grow well in a woodland situation, tolerating shading by larger trees[
229
Title
The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
Year
1980
ISBN
0442238622
Description
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
]. Seedlings grow away quickly, the plants reaching maturity when about 60 - 80 years old[
229
Title
The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
Year
1980
ISBN
0442238622
Description
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
].
The form Asculus flava vestita (Sarg.)Fern., is growing well at Kew Gardens. It has been seen with large crops of fruit on a number of occasions, even in cooler summers. These fruits have only been tried when immature (harvested at the end of August) but were then very tasty with no bitterness[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Fruits are produced more abundantly in warm summers[
130
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants, including Distylium racemosum and some perennial members of the family Berberidaceae.
].
Once established, this tree is very difficult to transplant successfully[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
Only those flowers near the base of the branches of an inflorescence are hermaphrodite and fertile. The others are male and infertile[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked. Said to be as sweet as a chestnut[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. We have only eaten the immature seed, harvested in late August, but these were very tasty with no noticeable bitterness[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The seed can be up to 45mm in diameter and is easily harvested[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
]. It can be dried, ground into a flour and used as a gruel. The seed contains saponins and needs to be leached of these toxins before it becomes safe to eat - the North American 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
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
,
229
Title
The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
Year
1980
ISBN
0442238622
Description
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
]. The resulting product is said to be tasty and nutritious[
229
Title
The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
Year
1980
ISBN
0442238622
Description
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
], though most of the minerals etc would have been leached out[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The flowers contain a sweet nectar which is delicious when sucked out[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
]. 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
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The heartwood is creamy white; it is not clearly demarcated from the thick layer of sapwood. The wood is very soft, light in weight, close grained, difficult to split. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot[
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
]. The wood is the softest of all American hardwoods and makes poor lumber; but it is used for pulpwood and woodenware[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
]. It is used for making artificial limbs, wooden ware, pulp etc, and is occasionally sawn into lumber[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
62
Title
A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T. and Dykeman. P.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold
Year
1982
ISBN
0442222009
Description
Very readable.
,
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather[
130
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants, including Distylium racemosum and some perennial members of the family Berberidaceae.
]. Seedlings develop a large taproot following germination and so, if grown in containers, should be given sufficient root room[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
]. 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
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
,
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is best to sow the seed with its 'scar' downwards[
130
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants, including Distylium racemosum and some perennial members of the family Berberidaceae.
]. 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-10-07. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Aesculus+flava>

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