|Aesculus californica subsp. var.||California buckeye|
It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 4–12 m tall, with gray bark often coated with lichens or mosses. It typically is multi-trunked with a crown as broad as it is high. The leaves are dark green, palmately compound with five (rarely seven) leaflets, each leaflet 6–17 cm long, with a finely toothed margin and (particularly in spring) downy surfaces. The leaves are tender and prone to damage from both spring freezing or snow and summer heat and desiccation.
The flowers are sweet-scented, white to pale pink, produced in erect panicles 15–20 cm long and 5–8 cm broad. The nectar is toxic and can kill honey bees. The fruit is a fig-shaped capsule 5–8 cm long, containing a large (2–5 cm), round, orange-brown seed; the seeds are poisonous. The California Buckeye has adapted to its native Mediterranean climate by growing during the wet winter and spring months and entering dormancy in late summer, though those growing in coastal regions tend to hold on to their leaves until mid-autumn; it begins the year's growth in early spring and begins dropping leaves by mid-summer.
Pests and diseases
- Casebeer, M. (2004). Discover California Shrubs. Sonora, California: Hooker Press. ISBN 0-9665463-1-8
- Bakker, E. (1971). "An Island Called California". Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04948-9