Aesculus pavia, known as red buckeye or firecracker plant, is a species of deciduous flowering plant The small tree or shrub is native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States, found from Illinois to Virginia in the north and from Texas to Florida in the southcitation neededIt is hardy far to the north of its native range, with successful cultivation poleward to Arboretum Mustila in Finland1
It has a number of local names, such as scarlet buckeye, woolly buckeye and firecracker plant
The red buckeye is a large shrub or small tree It reaches a height of 16–26 feet 5–8 m, often growing in a multi-stemmed form Its leaves are opposite, and are composed usually of five elliptical serrated leaflets, each 4–6 inches 10–15 cm long It bears 4–7-inch 10–18 cm long clusters of attractive dark red tubular flowers in the spring The flowers are hermaphrodite The smooth light brown fruits, about 1 inch 25 cm or so in diameter, reach maturity in early autumn
There are two varieties:
- Aesculus pavia var pavia: typical red buckeye
- Aesculus pavia var flavescens: yellow-flowered red buckeye
The yellow-flowered variety, var flavescens, is found in higher country in Texas, and hybrids with intermediate flower color occur
The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds as well as bees The fruits are rich in saponins, which are poisonous to humans, although not particularly dangerous because they are not ingested easily The oils can be extracted to make soap, although this is not viable commercially
Ornamental cultivars such as the low-growing 'Humilis' have been selected for garden use
Red buckeye has hybridized with common horse-chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum in cultivation, the hybrid being named Aesculus × carnea, red horse-chestnut The hybrid is a medium-sized tree to 45–55 feet 14–17 m tall, intermediate between the parent species in most respects, but inheriting the red flower color from A pavia It is a popular tree in large gardens and parks, most commonly the selected cultivar 'Briotii' Hybrids of red buckeye with yellow buckeye A flava have also been found, and named Aesculus × hybrida
A red flower stalk
- ^ http://wwwmustilafi/en/plants/aesculus/pavia
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aesculus pavia|
|Wikispecies has information related to Aesculus pavia|
- photo of Yellow Red Buckeye
- Aesculus pavia images at bioimagesvanderbiltedu
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