WESTERN BUCKEYE
File Size: 81 KB
 
Aesculus glabra  Willd.  var. arguta  (Buckl. ) B.L. Robinson
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Height: 3-12+ feet
Family: Hippocastanaceae - Buckeye Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Trunks: Erect; bark of young trees smooth, pale yellow-brown; bark of mature trees scaly or flat-ridged, dark brown.
Twigs: Rigid, coarse, reddish-brown or grayish-brown; lenticels conspicuous; terminal bud conical, 2/5 to 1/2 inch long, reddish-brown.
Leaves: Opposite, deciduous, palmately compound, stalk 4 to 6.5 inches long, enlarged at base; leaflets 5-11, usually 7, elliptic, lanceolate or egg-shaped, 3 to 6 inches long, .6 to 2.4 inches wide; upper surface glabrous, shiny, dark green; lower surface paler, pubescent on veins to minutely hairy or woolly; margins entire at base, sharply toothed above; tip sharp-pointed or tapering to narrow point; leaflet stalks to 2/5 inch long. The number, shape and size of the leaflets can be quite variable.
Flowers: In panicle, cylindrical or pyramidal, 4 to 6 inches long, terminating main branches. Calyx broadly bell-shaped, 1/8 to 1/3 inch long, yellowish-green, 5-lobed; lobes, unequal, blunt, pink-tipped; corolla 2/5 to 7/10 inch long; petals 4, pale yellow, outside hairy; upper 2 petals erect or curved, with 2 orange spots inside; 2 lateral petals slightly shorter, with orange streak inside; stamens 7, curved, 1/2 to 4/5 inch long, extending beyond corolla; filaments hairy near orange anthers; style greenish, stigma red.
Fruit: Unevenly spherical, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, rust-colored; husk leathery, spiny, divided into 3-4 sections; seeds 1-4, irregularly spherical, nut-like, about 1 inch in diameter, smooth, glossy, dark brown with large, pale scar.
Habitat: Stream banks, rocky wooded hillsides, lowland woods, and thickets in prairie ravines; moist, often calcareous soil.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Origin: Native
Toxicity: The seeds are mildly poisonous with swine particularly susceptible. The leaves are poisonous to livestock. Clinical signs include staggering, trembling and legs splayed out like a sawhorse. These symptoms typically last 24 hours.
Uses: Native Americans ate the seeds after boiling or roasting. The seeds were ground and thrown into streams to poison the fish. There was also a superstition that carrying a seed in pocket would alleviate rheumatism.

Western buckeye inflorescence
99 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Western buckeye
104 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Western buckeye
80 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Western buckeye flowers
64 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Western buckeye leaf
103 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Buckeye
82 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Buckeye
70 KB
Jefferson County, Kansas
Buckeye bark
135 KB
Jefferson County, Kansas
Buckeye buds
41 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Western buckeye fruit
84 KB
Geary County, Kansas