Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)
|Price £ each (ex. VAT)|
Bareroot from November to April
The prices above are offered as a guide and may be subject to fluctuation dependant upon the time of season and supply. We recommend that contact is made with the office for larger orders, a quotation and to check availability Alternatively please contact us to enquire about opening a wholesale account.
Native to S.E Europe, the Horse Chestnut was introduced into Britain in the 1600’s and makes a large, stately tree, with a beautiful, rather distinctive shape. The branches sweep downwards, then curve upwards like the branches of a candelabra. It is probably the most easily recognised tree by the general public, particularly when it is in flower. The huge cones of white flowers are held upright on the branches and are a spectacular sight in April and May when the tree appears to be covered with white ‘candles’.
Site and soil
Prefers a deep, rich soil, but will do well in any but the driest of soils.
Height and spread
After 10 years: 8m x 4m
After 20 years: 11m x 8m
Leaf and bark
The very large palmate leaves are divided into 5 or 7 leaflets, each with prominent veins, and a rough texture. The leaf buds are prominent over winter, very fat and sticky, and the Horse Chestnut is one of the first trees into leaf. The bark is light to dark brownish-grey, developing scaly ridges with age.
Flower, seed and fruit
The small white flowers have yellow, later pink, markings and are borne in large upright clusters up to 30cm tall in April and May. They are followed by the spiky green fruits, which split open to reveal the shiny brown conkers, or seeds.
Parkland, avenues, woodland, specimen tree. The bark has been used to make a yellow dye, and the bark and the fruits to make a preparation for the treatment of varicose veins. The conkers can be ground up to make fodder for cattle and horses; they are also used for the familiar children's game.
Bumble bees pollinate the flowers in late spring. Squirrels and other small mammals eat the conkers in autumn and winter.
Horse Chestnut is not usually pruned, but any badly placed branches should be cut back over winter when the tree is dormant.