Friday, April 9, 2010

Yellow buckeye

Yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava) is beginning to bloom, at least at lower elevations in the southern Appalachians. In rich cove forests and northern hardwood forests at higher elevations, flowering is probably a couple of weeks or more away.

This medium to large tree has palmately compound leaves and yellow tubular flowers that are actively visited by bumblebees and occasionally by hummingbirds, both of which function as pollinators.

While the flower clusters (inflorescences) typically have numerous flowers, relatively few mature fruit. Two main factors limit fruit set -- the unusually large fruits are energetically expensive to produce and most flowers within an inflorescence are staminate (only produce pollen).

Buckeyes make attractive landscape plants. Once established they can tolerate relatively dry conditions due to a deep taproot.

The unusually large seeds are considered a good luck charm.

1 comment:

  1. I like yellow buckeyes, too! They should be used more in landscapes.