Ohio Buckeye and Red Horsechestnut

There are two types of horsechestnut trees in the Yard: the Ohio buckeye and the red horsechestnut. The Ohio buckeye is the one that is native to the US. There are a few characteristics that set them apart. While both species have palmate-compound leaves with 5 leaflets, the ones on the Ohio buckeye are more smooth on the upper surface. The Ohio buckeye buds are orange, compared to the lipstick-shaped and colored buds of the red horsechestnut. Finally, the red horsechestnut has long spines on the husks of its fruit, while the ones on the husks of the Ohio buckeye are shorter and less sharp. This tree makes a very poor canopy tree, with hard to prune branches that are quite vertical with respect to the main trunk. Interestingly enough, an Ohio buckeye was planted around 10 years ago in from of Holworthy Hall in the main part of the Old Yard. It will be interesting to see how this tree reacts to the pruning required of the canopy trees in the Yard.

Ohio buckeye in bloom.

Ohio buckeye fruit. Removing the husk reveals a brown seed, which is the model for the mascot of the Ohio State University Buckeyes. (More on Brutus Buckeye from OSU)

An Ohio buckeye in the canopy part of the Yard with Thayer Hall in the background. How will it react as a canopy tree?

A red horsechestnut bud. All of the red horsechestnuts in the Yard are extremely young.

Virginia Tech Dendrology info - Ohio buckeye, red horsechestnut

Created by Ryan Lynch

Map template courtesy the Harvard Planning and Allston Initiative

Last updated May 2, 2007