The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a medium-sized to large tree, reaching a height of 50 to 70 feet. It has a spreading, rounded crown and massive clusters of flowers. The horse chestnut provides dense shade and has been widely planted in Iowa as an ornamental.
Hardiness: Zones 4 through 7
Growth Rate: Moderate
Mature Shape: Oval
Height: 50-75 feet
Width: 40-70 feet
Site Requirements: Vary adaptable
Leaves: Opposite, compound
Flowering Dates: April - June
Seed Dispersal Dates: September - October
Seed Bearing Age:
Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly
Seed Stratification: Prechill seeds for 4 months at 34°F to 40°F
The large leaves are palmately compound with seven individual leaflets which are broad toward the tip and somewhat narrowed near the base. The leaflets have no stalks, and at the tips they taper to an abrupt point. They are hairy when young but become smooth as they mature.
The fruit is round and covered with spines. Inside the spiny husk is a bitter, inedible nut with a large, conspicuous scar.
The twigs are reddish brown, stout and have prominent horse-shoe-shaped leaf scars with a series of so-called bundle-scars around the margin serving to represent the nails.