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California Buckeye
Aesculus californica
  
About California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) 41 Nurseries Carry This Plant California Buckeye or California Horse-chestnut is a species in the Sapindaceae family that is endemic to California, and the only buckeye native to the state. It is found over a large part of the state. It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 4-12 meters tall, with gray bark often coated with lichens or mosses. It typically is multi-trunked with a crown as broad as it is high. The leaves are dark green with five (rarely seven) leaflets, each leaflet 6-17 centimeters long, with a finely toothed margin and (particularly in spring) downy surfaces. The leaves are tender and prone to damage from both spring freezing or snow and summer heat and desiccation. It tends to drop its leaves readily. Caution should be exercised in using this plant in the garden because the fruits are toxic.

This plant is very drought tolerant, but looks better with some water. Native (white flowered) varieties seem to have lower water requirements.

Tolerant of recycled water.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Tree

Size
Size
13.1 - 39.4 ft tall
40 ft wide

Form
Form
Upright, Rounded

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Moderate

Dormancy
Dormancy
Summer Deciduous, Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Flower Color
White, Cream

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Summer, Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
Native insects including several butterfly species are attracted to the flowers. It is said to be toxic to non-native bees. Important nectar source in the late spring to migrant butterflies.

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Part Shade, Full Sun

Moisture
Moisture
Very Low, Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 2x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to -5° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Medium, Slow

Soil Description
Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils including clay. Tolerates Serpentine Soil. Soil PH: 4.0 - 8.0

Common uses
Common uses
Hedges, Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: No treatment; use fresh seeds.

Sunset Zones
Sunset Zones?
3, 4, 5, 6, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Dry slopes, canyons or stream edges, most often in the Coast Ranges or Sierra foothills.

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 5.8" - 109.8", Summer Precipitation: 0.17" - 2.49", Coldest Month: 28.2" - 56.6", Hottest Month: 49.8" - 78.5", Humidity: 0.08" - 29.30", Elevation: 4" - 10807"

Alternative Names
Common Names: California Horse Chestnut, Shrub California Buckeye


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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