Aesculus parviflora - Bottlebrush Buckeye
Family: Hippocastanaceae

Hear the scientific name

Aesculus parviflora is a sprawling deciduous shrub, known for white inflorescences that appear in summer, shade tolerance, and mounded, spreading, suckering habit. Bottlebrush Buckeye is an excellent Eastern U.S. native shrub for sun or shade.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form2 form Form

-multi-trunked medium shrub; to 10' tall x 10' wide

-spreading mound; distinct branching yields a mounded effect when in foliage

-slow growth rate except for basal suckers that are rapid

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-opposite arrangement; deciduous

-emerging red-purple, then changing to dark green

-palmately compound with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets with red petiolules; elliptic to obovate; acuminate; finely serrate; glabrous above and pubescent below; no cosmetic leaf problems as with other Buckeyes

-autumn color - yellow-green to yellow-brown; usually not showy, but on occasion quite noticeable

Flowers
flowers

-white petals with white filaments extending 1' beyond petals (hence the name "bottlebrush")

-July; effective for 2 weeks; red anthers; 8" long x 3" wide inflorescences of many solitary flowers, many of which are staminate; showy inflorescences because of white erect nature above green foliage

Fruit

-light brown smooth capsule

-splitting in Sept.-Oct. to yield 1 or 2 - 1" yellow-brown nuts with a prominent white "buck eye"

-usually few if any fruits per shrub

Twig
twig

-brown stout stem

-light brown leaf scars nearly encircle the stems

-large terminal buds; lateral buds much smaller

-branches becoming light brown and fairly smooth

Trunk

-ash-gray; slightly fissured

C   U   L   T   U   R   E
 

Culture

-does best in full sun but will grow quite well in partial or even full shade

-prefers a moist, well-drained rich soil

-quite tolerant of stress (such as drought, compaction)

-low availability, but increasing in popularity

Hardiness

-zones 4 to 8

Origin

-native to Southeastern U.S.

U   S   A   G   E
 

Assets

-large shrub with showy white flowers in mid-summer; prolonged bloom period; one of the few shrubs that flower in summer

-no leaf scorch or powdery mildew problems for this Buckeye species

-full shade tolerant; performs well in both sun and shade

Liabilities

-suckers profusely from base and will invade beyond its original space in a short time

-not easily limbed up

-very sparse structure in winter that makes it a design challenge

Function

-specimen, border, accent, or foundation sprawling shrub

-understory shrub beneath large trees

-large facer shrub for large trees, or great for embankment plantings (erosion control and spectacular summer flowering display in masses)

Texture

-medium texture in foliage and coarse when bare

-thick density in foliage but very loose when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S
 

Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species

Alternates

-large accent shrubs that have attractive summer flowers (e.g. Clethra alnifolia, Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva', Itea virginica)

-understory shrubs that perform well in sun or shade

 


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