Aesculus pavia, Red Buckeye

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

Native mostly to the southeastern United States,* this understory tree is found
in woods and along streams. Its common name refers to shiny seeds called
buckeyes, which are encased in husked seed capsules. Its showy flowers,
suggestive of firecrackers, have led to its alternative name, Firecracker Plant.

Print Version: Aesculus pavia, Red Buckeye

Aesculus pavia, Red Buckeye - Height: 12–15 feet, Spread: 12–15 feet, Bloom color: Bright red Characteristics: Clump-forming, deciduous large shrub/small tree with irregular rounded crown; Glossy, dark green leaves are palmate with five coarsely-toothed leaflets up to 6 inches long; Showy 4- to 10-inch upright clusters of deep red, tubular flowers bloom for 2 weeks in mid-spring; Smooth, tan-brown, husked seed capsule encloses 1–3 shiny brown fruits that mature in fall; Leaves yellow by summer’s end and drop early. Attributes: Tolerates clay soil; intolerant of drought; no serious pests but leaf blotch can be a major problem (remove fallen leaves promptly and place in the trash); deer rarely damage; Ethnobotanic uses; plant may be harmful if eaten; Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies; bark, foliage, and seeds are toxic to mammalian herbivore. Growing and Maintenance Tips: Soil requirements: Acidic, well-drained soil; Light requirements: Sun, Partial Shade;Water requirements: Moist; Overwatering can lead to leaf-spot diseases; Place for spring visibility, but less noticeable location after leaf drop; protect from afternoon sun; Use as a specimen or hedge, or in a rain garden; Hardiness: USDA Zones 4–8. It is not native to the Mid-Atlantic Region but it is native to the southeastern U.S. Excellent Replacement for Albizia julibrissin – Mimosa, Paulownia tomentosa - Princess Tree, Vitex agnus-castus - Chaste Tree.

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.