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Trees of Iowa: An Interactive Key

Horse Chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)


Leaves are opposite, compound.


The horse-chestnut is a medium-sized to large tree, reaching a height of 50 to 70 feet.  It has a spreading, rounded crown and massive clusters of flowers. The horse-chestnut provides dense shade and has been widely planted in Iowa as an ornamental.

Hardiness: zones 4 through 7

Growth Rate:
Moderate

Mature Shape:
Oval

Height:
50-75 feet

Width:
40-70 feet

Site Requirements:
Vary adaptable

Flowering Dates: April - June

Seed Dispersal Dates: September - October

Seed Bearing Age:

Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly

Seed Stratification: Prechill seeds for 4 months at 34°F to 40°F
Horse Chestnut FlowersHorse Chestnut Flowers European Variety

The large leaves are palmately compound with seven individual leaflets which are broad toward the tip and somewhat narrowed near the base.  The leaflets have no stalks, and at the tips they taper to an abrupt point.  They are hairy when young but become smooth as they mature.

Horse Chestnut BarkHorse Chestnut Leaves

The fruit is round and covered with spines.  Inside the spiny husk is a bitter, inedible nut with a large, conspicuous scar.

Horse Chestnut TwigsHorse Chestnut Twigs

The twigs are reddish brown, stout and have prominent horse-shoe-shaped leaf scars with a series of so-called bundle-scars around the margin serving to represent the nails.

 

Click on a thumbnail image below to view a larger picture.
Horse Chestnut Flowers Horse Chestnut Twigs Horse Chestnut Flowers Horse Chestnut Bark Horse Chestnut Flowers Horse Chestnut Form Horse Chestnut Leaves Horse Chestnut Twigs