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Horse-Chestnut  (Family Hippocastanaceae)

 

Hippocastanaceae is the name given to a small group of trees and

shrubs, when this group is treated as a family. Its most widespread

genus is Aesculus (the horse-chestnuts and buckeyes, syn. Pavia).

However, the American genus Billia and the Chinese genus

Handeliodendron are also sometimes included in this family.

Members of this family are closely related to the large, mostly

tropical family Sapindaceae, and some systems of plant taxonomy

include the members of the Hippocastanaceae, along with members

of the Aceraceae, in an enlarged family Sapindaceae.

 

Family Hippocastanaceae is comprised of three genera and 15 species
distributed in Asia (Himalayas to Japan), SE Europe, North America,

with Genus Billia being found in Central and South America.

 

Members of Family Hippocasanaceae are used extensively for orna-

mental purposes. The most familiar member of the genus worldwide

is the common horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum, native to a

small area of the Balkans in southeast Europe, but widely cultivated

throughout the temperate world. The yellow buckeye Aesculus flava

is also a valuable ornamental tree with yellow flowers, but is less

widely planted. Among the smaller species, the bottlebrush buckeye

Aesculus parviflora also makes a very interesting and unusual flower-

ing shrub. Several other members of the genus are used as ornamentals,

and several horticultural hybrids have also been developed, most notably

the red horse chestnut Aesculus X carnea, a hybrid between Aesculus

hippocastanum and Aesculus pavia.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Tree Families and Species

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