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Publication #FPS-17

Aesculus parviflora: Bottlebrush Buckeye1

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen2

Introduction

Native from Alabama and South Carolina into Florida, bottlebrush buckeye forms a rounded mass of dark green, palmately-compound foliage in mid-spring (Figure 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. 

Full form—Aesculus parviflora: bottlebrush buckeye.


Credit:

Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Full form, fall color—Aesculus parviflora: bottlebrush buckeye.


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Leaf—Aesculus parviflora: bottlebrush buckeye.


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 4. 

Flower—Aesculus parviflora: bottlebrush buckeye.


Credit:

Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


[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 (Figure 5)

Figure 5. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

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

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: specimen; screen; foundation; border

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

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

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

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.

Design Considerations

Bottlebrush buckeye works well as a background or massing plant to highlight the forms and colors of companion plants and block undesirable views. The fine texture and medium leaves of the buckeye will show well with contrasting plant features such as large leaves, coarse texture, thick stems, and dark green or burgundy color. Other contrasting textures include thin blades and clumping, arching forms of grasses and other vase-shaped, small-leaved shrubs. Contrasting size and shape such as low-growing groundcover with a sprawling, mounding form will emphasize the upright, arching shape of buckeye. To create large plant masses select plants with similar characteristics that blend with the buckeye.

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 Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised May 2007 and August 2018. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Ryan W. Klein, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Gail Hansen, associate 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.