Common names: Indian horse chestnut, Himalayan horse chestnut
The horse chestnuts are widely grown in temperate regions of the world as street and park trees. trees are deciduous with large palmate leaves. They are great shade trees. They all have spectacular flowers in mid to late spring. The seeds of this genus are large and glossy brown with some resemblance to sweet chestnuts (Castanea species) these are however slightly poisonous if ingested. The seeds were traditionally used in England and Ireland for a game called Conkers. The seeds contain saponins, and can be used to make a detergent for washing clothes.
A. indica – The indian horse chestnut grows 15 meters high and about 9 meters wide. It forms a dense rounded canopy with large dark green palmate leaves. Fantastic as a shade tree. Its creamy white flowers bloom in late spring, usually a little later than A.carnea and are very attractive to bees. This makes them very useful trees for bees as this time is often known among beekeepers as the “November dearth”- The time when many spring flowers have finished and bees are short of food to feed their growing broods. In the autumn leaves turn lovely shades of orange and yellow.
The inedible Horse chestnuts- Aesculus sp. are easily distinguished from Sweet chestnuts –Castanea sp. Aesculus all have large hand shaped leaves, whereas Castanea have long narrow serrated leaves. The seed of the Castanea are enclosed in a prickly burr, whereas the Aesculus have a fleshy bumpy husk. The nuts of both are also different with the edible – Castanea nuts always having a tassel or point, the inedible- Aesculus being round and smooth with no point or tassel.
- 15 x 9 meters
- Full sun- light shade
- Moist well drained soils
- Pb 28