P&PDL Picture of the Week for
June 10, 2013

Red Horsechestnut vs. Red Buckeye

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture

There is often confusion between Red Horsechestnut and Red Buckeye.

Red Buckeye, known botanically as Aesculus pavia, has opposite, palmately compound leaves composed of 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets. The species is typically a clump-forming large shrub or small tree, reaching 10-20 feet in height. The red flowers are about 1 1/2" long and form in loose clusters.

Red horsechestnut, Aesculus x carnea, is a hybrid of the Red Buckeye crossed with the species horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and was bred for very showy, double flowers in large, dense clusters. Red horsechestnut also has opposite, palmately compound leaves composed of 5 leaflets but the habit is a larger tree, reaching 30-40 feet or more.

There are a number of other hybrids in the trade (and perhaps also in nature?) that have A. pavia as a parent as well as related species.

Click image to enlarge

Red Buckeye Tree

Red Buckeye Flowers

Red Horsechestnut tree in full bloom

Red Horsechestnut Flowers





Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service