Toxic Parts:
fruit, seeds
glycosides, saponins, tannins
Flower Color:
  • flower color
woodlands, ornamental, meadows, gardens

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Horse chestnut distribution - United States

Related Species

Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

White Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut
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Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a medium to large deciduous tree from the soapberry (Sapindaceae) family, that is well-known for producing horse chestnuts. The tree is native to the Balkans, and is most commonly planted as a shade and ornamental tree with an upright, oval-rounded crown. Horse chestnut is closely related to Buckeye (Aesculus) trees.

Horse Chestnut Toxic Components

Horse chestnut seeds and twigs contain aescin, a complex mixture of saponins, which can be toxic to horses if ingested.

What Horse Chestnut Looks Like

  • Tree type: Ornamental and shade tree.
  • Mature height: 50 to 75 feet
  • Crown (shape): Oval to rounded shape
  • Leaves:Palmately compound, dark green leaves; 5-7 obovate leaflets that are 4 to 10 inches in length; doubly serrated on the margins. In the fall, the leaves turn bright yellow, gold and brown before they fall from the tree for the winter.
  • Flowers: Beautiful, fragrant, oblong clusters of white flowers with a blotch of yellow to reddish color at their base; bloom in early to mid-May.
  • Bark: Dark brown, scaly; exfoliating as it ages; orange inner bark
  • Fruit:The fruit produced are horse chestnuts--which are covered with a brown husk and hair-like spines which remain until the fruit ripens and splits open.