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Aesculus


The common Horse Chestnut is a well known representative of this genus of Sapindaceae. Of this there are worthy representatives in most parts of the country, while in some places it has been planted in quantity ; and at flowering time, and again in autumn, after the leaves have assumed their golden tint, the effect is very striking.

Although the Horse Chestnut, Aesculus Hippocastanum, is most common, there are a number of other hardy species and varieties, most of which are showy. The Aesculus are suitable for planting in most soils and positions, and make good town trees. For very exposed positions, where violent winds are experienced, they should be planted within a shelter belt of other trees. The most suitable for ordinary use are:

Aesculus carnea, the Red Horse Chestnut, of hybrid origin, is a free-flowering, round headed tree, which, when mature, rises to a height of 20 or 30 feet. According to Loudon it was in cultivation in 1820. The leaves are very deep green and seven lobed. The flowers are red, and borne during May and June in dense, upright panicles, rather shorter than those of the Horse Chestnut. Several varieties are known, two of the best being Briotii, with fine, rich, red flowers, and pendula, with drooping branches. Aesculus rubicunda is a synonym of Aesculus carnea.


Aesculus Indica. - The Indian Horse Chestnut, found in the western Himalayas, resembles our common Horse Chestnut in some respects; it, however, flowers in July. It forms an upright growing tree of considerable size with very large, glabrous leaves and long panicles of flowers, which are very similar in colour to those of the foregoing; the panicles are, however, not quite so dense. When young it appears to be somewhat tender.

Other species and hybrids are Californica, California; flava, North America; glabra, United States; Lyonii, garden hybrid; neglecta, garden hybrid; Pavia, S. United States; Plantierensis, garden hybrid; and turbinata, China and Japan.