North Carolina Wildflowers, Shrubs, & Trees

by Jeffrey S. Pippen | Back to Jeff's Plant Page | Jeff's Nature Pages


Hippocastanaceae > Aesculus (buckeye)

Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava)
Clay Co., NC
13 May 2006

With opposite palmately compound leaves, this large tree is common in moist cove forests in the NC mountains and occurs rarely in a few piedmont locations.

Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava)
Clay Co., NC
13 May 2006

Upright inflorescences develop in late spring, and the buckeye nuts develop in the fall.

Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava)
Clay Co., NC
13 May 2006

Distinctive plate-like bark and thick twigs help one recognize this species in the winter.


Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Orange Co., NC
31 Mar 2007

Statewide in NC, but mostly common in the piedmont in rich soils, especially in bottomlands, floodplains and slopes. Painted Buckeye is a shrub to small tree.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Orange Co., NC
31 Mar 2007

Flowers are creamy yellow-green with the anthers just poking out.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Orange Co., NC
31 Mar 2007

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Chatham Co., NC
7 June 2008

Fruiting individual.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Chatham Co., NC
7 June 2008

Close-up of buckeye fruit.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Durham Co., NC
23 Oct 2009

In winter, Painted Buckeye is easily identified by its habitat, fairly large, often paired buds on twigs with prominent lenticels and opposite branching pattern.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Durham Co., NC
13 March 2010

Buds "bursting" in spring.

Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Durham Co., NC
13 March 2010

Young leaves emerge and unfold.


Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
New Hanover Co., NC
8/27/2005

Found mostly in the coastal plain in NC in moist woodlands and swamp edges, Red Buckeye is an uncommon shrub to small tree.

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Duke Gardens, NC
7 Apr 2007
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Duke Gardens, NC
7 Apr 2007
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Duke Gardens, NC
7 Apr 2007
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
New Hanover Co., NC
8/26/2006


Annotated habitat and distribution information listed above is from Radford, Ahles, & Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. UNC Press; and from personal observations and discussions with Will Cook, Harry LeGrand, and Bob Wilbur. Common names from personal experience and supplemented by the following resources USDA plants website, Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and NatureServe.


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Created on May 7, 2006 | jeffpippen9@gmail.com