Aesculus glabra Willd.

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Bean

Genus

Common Names

  • Ohio Buckeye

Glossary

glabrous
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
hybrid
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
midrib
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.

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Bean

A tree usually under 30 ft high, but sometimes up to 70 ft, with a trunk over 6 ft in girth; bark of the trunk rough, and much fissured. Leaves usually composed of five leaflets, which are 3 to 6 in. long, about one-third as wide; obovate or oval, with a long, tapering point, sharply toothed; downy when young, but becoming glabrous with age, except along the midrib and chief veins. Flowers about 1 in. long, greenish yellow, in erect panicles 4 to 7 in. long, 2 to 3 in. wide; petals four; stamens 13 in. longer than the petals. Fruit 1 to 2 in. long, broadly obovoid, distinguished from other American buckeyes by prickles resembling those of common horse-chestnut, but much less prominent.

Native of the S.E. and Central United States. This tree is of handsome shape and foliage, but is the least attractive of the genus in its flowers. Often confused with A. flava, it is readily distinguished by its rougher bark, the less downy leaves, the longer outstanding stamens, and the prickly surfaced fruit. It flowers at the end of May and in early June. It grows well at Kew, where the largest specimen is now 56 × 634 ft (1967).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, 60 × 712 ft and, var. leucodermis, pl. 1912, 52 × 4 ft (1980); Clare College, Cambridge, 40 × 434 ft (1981); Corsham Court, Wilts., 52 × 414 ft (1981); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 40 × 412 ft (1981).

† A. × mississippiensis Sarg. – A hybrid between A. glabra and A. pavia, which could be confused with A. × hybrida. The most reliable difference would appear to be in the fruits. These are warted, a character no doubt deriving from the prickly fruits of A. glabra and the smooth ones of A. pavia; in A. × hybrida they are smooth, as in both its parents. Another difference is said to be that the stamens are usually longer than the petals (shorter in A. × hybrida). A possible earlier name for this cross is A. × bushii Schneid.

pallida (Willd.) Schelle

Synonyms
A. pallida Willd

Leaflets pubescent at maturity. Introduced to Britain in 1812. It is found wild in the Middle West.

leucodermis Sarg

Native of southern Missouri and Arkansas; best distinguished by its smooth, near-white bark, which only becomes scaly on old trees. Leaves glabrous.

monticola Sarg

Differs in having six or seven leaflets and a more rounded fruit; found wild in Oklahoma.

sargentii Rehd. var.

Synonyms
arguta Robins, in part
var. buckleyi Sarg

A form with six or seven leaflets, also distinct in their longer, drawn out points and their doubly toothed margins. It does not reach so far eastward as the typical A. glabra and is found in Ohio and westward to Oklahoma. This variety has been confused by botanists with A. arguta.

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