Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mystery Aesculus

I was in Central Park last weekend when I stumbled along this species of Aesculus. I was quite taken with it -- the golden foliage was brilliant and it had a regular, columnar form.

It's not a horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and certainly not A. parviflora or A. pavia. From anything I read about A. flava and A. x carnea, it seems the bark is too smooth. I am completely baffled. It could perhaps be A. chinensis or A. indica, though they both seem to be fairly rare, and the description doesn't seem to quite fit. This tree was like a buckeye on the trunk of a tuliptree...

Does anyone know what this is? Please, please tell me!

If not, I suppose I will have to wait until spring and see if the flowers give us any better clues!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The genus Aesculus, the buckeyes and horse-chestnuts, comprises 13-19 species of woody trees and shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere, with 6 species native to North America and 7-13 species native to Eurasia; there are also several hybrids. Species are deciduous or evergreen. This genus has traditionally been treated in the ditypic family Hippocastanaceae along with Billia[1], but recent phyloegentic analysis of morphological[2] and molecular data[3] has led to this family, along with the Aceraceae (Maples and Dipteronia), being included in the soapberry family (Sapindaceae).
The North American species are known as buckeyes and the Eurasian species as horse-chestnuts. Some are also called white chestnut or red chestnut (as in some of the Bach flower remedies. In Britain, they are sometimes called conker trees because of their link with the game of conkers, played with the nuts, also called conkers.