Need help with tree id

Dewitt, MI

I discovered this lovely, small, ornamental tree on the grounds of a retreat center. Please keep in mind that we have had serious drought conditions here in MI, so, it isn't looking as pretty as it should. I've tried to identify it using guides and I think it may be in the chestnut family but not sure.
If anyone can help, I would appreciate it greatly as I think I NEED one of these.

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Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)


Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Yes - with blooms this late and that long (especially showing that "gooseneck" kind of undulating character), that is probably the later-blooming form of Bottlebrush Buckeye: Aesculus parviflora var. serotina, of which there is at least one fine selection named 'Rogers'.

I think you need more than one - plant as many as you have room for. Ask at the site, but I bet they have no use for the subsequent seed that will form from those flowers. You could grow them out for free (just protect from squirrels and chipmunks).

Dewitt, MI

Thank you. Buckeye was another possibility I had found which I failed to mention in my question. I will definitely ask about the seeds and must say, Viburnum Valley, I'm glad you understand my NEED for this lovely tree.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Just for botanical reference: Horsechestnut and Buckeye are common names for plants in the Aesculus genus. European and Asian species are often referred to as Horsechestnuts, and North American species carry the term Buckeye. Of course, no Ohioan would confuse the two.

The root of my understanding? I have one plant of 'Rogers', and three more of A. p. var. serotina - all in bloom right now at the Valley.

I have many more (20+) specimens of the "normal" Bottlebrush Buckeye, and they are the centerpiece of an exceedingly fragrant early summer bloomscape. The pollinating insects swarm them, as well as many of the nectar-loving butterflies and moths. I grow out seedlings annually, along with many other Aesculus species (see A. pavia for another stellar plant).

You could do so much worse than enhancing your landscape with this species.

Dewitt, MI

Thank you so much for this wonderful information as I love botanical names. I have been perennial-plant gardening for 15+ years but have just gotten into the more substantial offerings to the landscape made by small decorative trees. When I first saw this Bottlebrush Buckeye, it was glorious. By the time I got back to take pictures, the flowers were past their prime. But, oh my, they are just gorgeous and to me having a real tropical flare.

I will have to fight the squirrels for nuts? I did that last year for the nuts of a Chinquapin Chestnut. I had stopped and asked the home owner if I could collect some when they fell and he said sure but you'll have to be quick. One day I stopped and picked up five. The next day I went back to get a couple more and they were all GONE. Are these nuts edible for humans?

Also, I didn't know KY had any Zone 5b areas. You must be in the hills/mountains. Your place sounds beautiful.


Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I refuse to give up my hardiness zone, as I well remember the nearly -30F temps here during January 1994. It wasn't that long ago, and - despite warmer winters since - it could happen again (not tomorrow, but next winter). I live in the relative flatlands of the central KY Bluegrass, amongst the thoroughbred horse farms where I used to work.

My place has lots of plants, and many of them are beautiful. I contribute images to PlantFiles here, so I guess someone could "collage" together an idea of what it all looks like. Lotta viburnums.

Aesculus species seeds are toxic to humans, and to some animals. Squirrels will thieve them if you aren't quick. Watch for darkening of the husks, and if there is any evidence of the husk splitting - take them at once. Don't allow them to dry at all before planting, which is best done immediately in a protected site. I put all mine in containers to germinate, and cover them against rodentia infestations.

Aesculus species seeds will send out a root radicle in the fall (which is why you should plant immediately) and then send up a stem in the spring.

Wishing you continued success and joy in the garden...

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Dewitt, MI

Thanks for sharing your wealth of information.

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