Aesculus hippocastanum, also known as the Horse Chestnut, is one of the most loved traditional trees in Britain, yet is not technically classified as being native to this country. Whilst the classic Horse Chestnut as we know it is actually native to the borders of Greece and Albania, this stunning parkland tree has been found in Britain for over 400 years having been introduced in the early 1600’s.
The foliage of the Aesculus genus is distinct, with each leaf containing a number of leaflets that span a width of around 60cm. In the late spring the characteristic candle like flowers appear in their masses, generally white yet tinged with yellow and pink. In autumn the shiny, brown conkers are born in their spiky caskets, perfectly ready to become the next champion in the playground!
Aesculus hippocastanum is generally a tough tree, thriving in a wide range of soil type and conditions. It is interestingly one of London’s most commonly planted trees, rivalled clearly only by Platanus x hispanica, the London Plane tree. The Conker tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, forms a vast and impressive tree at maturity, with this in mind it is best suited to estates, parklands and generous open spaces where it will not be compromised by lack of space in years to come.
As a note of caution with this tree, in recent years they have suffered from a number of debilitating pests ranging from leaf miners to bleeding canker and whilst this problem seems to become less prevalent the further North the tree is planted, these factors should be considered carefully for wide-scale plantings.
Mature height: 20m+