Logo

TREES & Plants

Ohio buckeye

The Ohio buckeye is a large, 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. 

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
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial shade (4-6 hrs indirect light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Occasional flooding
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Oval
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
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.