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Publication #FPS-17

Aesculus parviflora Bottlebrush Buckeye1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

Native from Alabama and South Carolina into Florida, bottlebrush buckeye forms a rounded mass of dark green, palmately-compound foliage in mid-spring (Fig. 1). The shrub eventually reaches about 8 feet tall but grows to 12 feet wide. It can be found in its native, moist, shaded habitat flowering in early summer. The delicate, showy, white flowers are held well above the foliage in terminal panicles up to 12 inches long. Bottlebrush buckeye has been successfully used as far north as Chicago (hardiness zone 5).

Figure 1. 

Bottlebrush buckeye


Credit:

Ed Gilman


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Aesculus parviflora
Pronunciation: ESS-kew-lus par-vif-FLOR-uh
Common name(s): bottlebrush buckeye
Family: Hippocastanaceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 5 through 9A (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: specimen; screen; foundation; border
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 5 to 10 feet
Spread: 10 to 15 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: palmately compound
Leaf margin: crenate
Leaf shape: oblong; obovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. 

Foliage of bottlebrush buckeye


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Flower

Flower color: white
Flower characteristic: spring flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked stems; not particularly showy
Current year stem/twig color: gray/silver
Current year stem/twig thickness: thick

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun; plant grows in the shade
Soil tolerances: extended flooding; acidic; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Allow plenty of room for this spreading shrub since it looks best without pruning. Pruning ruins the natural uniform shape. Locate it in the partial or full shade for a splash of color in early summer. Fall color is yellow, occasionally developing into a short-lived showy display.

Pests and Diseases

Few problems are reported on this nice, native plant.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS-17, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised May 2007. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.