Aesculus pavia L.
Red buckeye is a North American native plant. Aesculus, a name chosen by Linnaeus, means “edible acorn,” but this name was meant for horse chestnuts: red buckeye seeds are poisonous. The species, pavia, is named for the Dutch botanist, Peter Paaw.
Identification: These shrubs are 12-20' (3.7-6.1 m) in height, and about the same in diameter. Leaves are in palmlike clusters of five (sometimes seven), emanating from a common point. They are a dark, shiny green, with fine serrations and often an orange midvein, 5-10" (12-25 cm) long. It has attractive 4-10" (10-25 cm) long clusters (panicles) of red, orange-red, or yellow flowers. Individual flowers are tubular, about 1" (2.5 cm) long, favored by ruby-throated hummingbirds. Fruits are somewhat pear-shaped, 1½-3" (3.8-7.6 cm) around, containing three red chestnut-like seeds per fruit. The outer husk enclosing the seeds is tan.
Edibility: Poisonous Seeds and young shoots are deadly poisonous, and other parts of the plant are not palatable. Some native cultures crushed the poisonous parts of these plants and immersed them in water to stun and capture fish.
Aesculus pavia on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook (great photos)
Aesculus pavia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Aesculus pavia on FLORIDATA
Aesculus pavia on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Aesculus pavia at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site
Aesculus pavia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.
Range: Zones 4-8: