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Bottlebrush buckeye

Flower cluster of bottlebrush buckeye.

Bottlebrush buckeye is a handsome shrub that has memorable long fluffy white flower clusters in early July. It is useful as an understory planting in woodland gardens, as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border. The wonderful, coarse-textured, dark green compound leaves turn rich buttery yellow in the fall. This is a large shrub that tends to sucker and, over time, will grow twice as broad as it is high, so it should only be used in large-scale plantings. Also known as Aesculus macrostachya.

Botanical name:

Aesculus parviflora

All common names:

Bottlebrush buckeye

Family (English):

Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)

Family (Botanic):

Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Screen,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early summer,
  • midsummer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
photo: John Hagstrom

Size and Form

8 to 12 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide; thicket-forming.

Tree & Plant Care

Drought sensitive; water in dry periods.
Use only in large-scale plantings. Ideal for understory planting in native and woodland gardens.
Flowers on old wood, prune after flowering.

Disease, pests and problems

Leaf scorch is possible in sunny locations.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Southeastern US.


Wide-spreading suckering shrub with attractive open slender branching.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape and texture

Opposite, leaves compound (5 to 7 leaflets); about 3 to 8 inches long.
Medium to dark green, turning buttery yellow in fall. 

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Bottlebrush-shaped clusters of delicate white flowers up to 12 inches long.
Flowers June-July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Smooth pear-shaped nuts (buckeyes) in fall with bright yellow husk.
Buckeyes should not be eaten.

Cultivars and their differences

Roger's Late Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parvilfora var. serotina 'Rogers'): Typically flowers two weeks later than the species.  Flower panicles can reach 18 to 30 inches long. May be difficult to find in nurseries.



Location of Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye) at the Arboretum