Logo

TREES & plants

Ohio buckeye

The Ohio buckeye is a neatly rounded tree with low, sweeping branches and dense foliage that provides deep shade. It is one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring. Its name comes from the 'buckeyes,' a small, dark brown nut with a light patch resembling the eye of a deer, which grows inside a rounded prickly fruit capsule. This tree is susceptible to leaf blotch.

Botanical name: 
Aesculus glabra
All Common Names: 
Ohio buckeye
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • City parkway
  • Wide median
  • Restricted sites
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Mature Height: 
20-40 feet
Mature Width: 
20-40 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Messy fruit/plant parts
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Attractive bark
  • Showy flowers
  • Spring blossoms
  • Fall color
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
Transplants Well: 
  • No
Wildlife: 
  • Butterflies
  • Migrant birds
  • Small mammals
More Information: 

Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)photo: John Hagstrom
Size and Form

20 to 40 feet high and 20 to 30 feet wide with a rounded to oval shape

Tree & Plant Care

Not recommended for streets or small residential areas because of its messy fruit.
May be difficult to transplant due to the presence of a taproot.

Disease, pests and problems

Susceptible to leaf blotch, powdery mildew and infestation by insects such as scale and Japanese beetles.
Leaf scorch and premature leaf drop is probable in hot, dry periods.

Disease, pest and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 3
Commonly found near rivers and streams.

Bark color and texture

Bark is light tan to gray; warty when young, becoming more scaly with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color

Palmately compound and arranged in pairs (opposite); up to 6 inches long
Leaves green with  5 to 7 leaflets
Fall color is yellow to a warm pumpkin-orange.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Large, 12 inch long,  upright terminal clusters of yellow-green flowers

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Shiny brown nuts in prickly husk
Buckeyes should not be eaten.