Aesculus flava - Yellow Buckeye
Family: Hippocastanaceae

Hear the scientific name

Aesculus flava is a large, deciduous, native Ohio tree known for its tall stately growth habit, prominent yellow inflorescences in spring, clean summer foliage, and fruits in autumn. Formerly known as Aesculus octandra, Yellow Buckeye is the "best" large buckye for general landscape use in the Midwestern U.S.

Former scientific name: Aesculus octandra

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form2 form Form

-large shade tree, briefly doubling as a large ornamental tree

-maturing at about 75' tall x 40' wide

-upright oval growth habit

-medium growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green, opposite, and palmately compound with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets

-leaflets are elliptical to obovate, acuminate, finely serrated, and with short petiolules

-autumn color is a subdued yellow-orange to yellow-brown


-yellow-green inflorescence is about 7" long x 3" wide, composed of an upright panicle of many solitary flowers, occuring in mid-May, with the inflorescence rising above the expanded foliage

-the flowers are the least showy of the Buckeyes


-light brown, smooth, obovate capsules split open in Sept.-Oct. to generally yield 2 - 2" wide brown nuts with a prominent white "buck eye"


-gray stout stems have prominent brown leaf scars, with the lateral buds being much smaller than the terminal bud(s)

-gray branches become rough or lightly furrowed with age

trunk Trunk

-dark gray to brown, smooth when young, furrowed and ridged in middle age but becoming scaly and platy with maturity

C   U   L   T   U   R   E

>-full sun to partial sun (partial shade tolerant in youth)

-performs best in full sun in moist, rich, well-drained, deep, and slightly acidic soils; like most Buckeyes, it performs poorly in poor soils, clay soils, dry soils, and in polluted areas, and is somewhat tolerant of neutral to alkaline pH soils and tolerates briefly wet soils, but Yellow Buckeye tolerates urban stresses much better than other Buckeyes or Horsechestnuts, and as such makes the best member of the genus Aesculus to plant in urban areas as a shade tree

-propagated primarily by seeds

-less susceptible to diseases and pests that affect other members of the genus

-low availability, in B&B or container form

distribution map


-zones 3 to 8


-native to the Eastern U.S.

U   S   A   G   E


-stately shade tree with prominent inflorescences in mid-spring

-not as prone to unsightly foliage diseases or pest damage, or early defoliation, as are other Buckeyes and Horsechestnuts


-slight amount of cosmetic leaf unsightliness in mid- to late-summer

-fruit litter in early autumn

-limited floral display when compared to other Buckeyes


-shade tree, doubling as an ornamental tree in early May


-medium-bold texture in foliage and when bare

-thick density in foliage and average density when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

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


-large shade trees that have showy flowers (Aesculus x carnea, Aesculus glabra, Aesculus hippocastanum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia grandiflora, etc.)

-large trees with nuts that attract wildlife (members of the genera Aesculus, Carya, Castanea, Corylus, Fagus, Juglans, Quercus, etc.)


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