Ohio Buckeye

Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabraThe Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) is a medium-sized tree, reaching 50 to 60 feet in height and 18 to 20 inches in diameter with a short, limby trunk and a compact, rounded head. In Iowa the Ohio buckeye is found scattered in timber in mixture with other species in the southeastern and central parts, usually on moist, bottomland soils.

Hardiness: Zones 3 through 7

ohio buckeye tree
Ohio Buckeye Tree - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast

Mature Shape: Pyramidal or elliptical when young, becoming rounded when mature

Height: 20-40 feet

Width: 20-35 feet

Site Requirements: Full sun; Not drought resistant. Need adequate moisture during drought, or leaf scorch may become a problem

Leaves: Opposite compound

Flowering Dates: March - April

Seed Dispersal Dates: September - October

Seed Bearing Age: 8 years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly

Seed Stratification: Prechill for 4 months at 34°F to 40°F

The leaves are palmately compound, with the five individual leaflets much narrowed toward the base. They are light green and smooth above, yellowish green below and hairy along the veins. When crushed they have an unpleasant odor.

The fruit is large, rounded, fleshy tan husk dividing into two or three parts, covered with prickles or warts and enclosing one or two round, mahogany-brown shiny nuts with a prominent spot or eye on one end.

The twigs are reddish brown to ashy gray, upright, very stout, straight and coarse. The bark is ashy gray to gray-brown, breaking into irregular shallow plates covered with roughened scales. 

side by side view of some ohio buck eye fruit including a cross section showing a dark red internal pit
Ohio Buckeye Fruit - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

ohio buckeye twig
Ohio Buckeye Twig - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

ohio buckeye leaf
Ohio Buckeye Leaf - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

ohio buckeye white flowers
Ohio Buckeye Flowers - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University