|Aesculus pavia subsp. var.||Red buckeye|
Aesculus pavia, known as Red Buckeye or Firecracker Plant, is a species of deciduous flowering plant. The small tree or shrub is native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States, found from Illinois to Virginia in the north and from Texas to Florida in the south.
It has a number of local names, such as scarlet buckeye, woolly buckeye and firecracker plant.
The Red Buckeye is a large shrub or small tree. It reaches a height of 5-8 m, often growing in a multi-stemmed form. Its leaves are opposite, and are usually composed of five elliptical serrated leaflets, each 10-15 cm long. It bears 10-17 cm long clusters of attractive dark red tubular flowers, each in April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite. The smooth light brown fruits, about 3 cm in diameter, reach maturity in September and October.
There are two varieties:
- Aesculus pavia var. pavia: typical Red Buckeye.
- Aesculus pavia var. flavescens: yellow-flowered Red Buckeye.
The yellow-flowered variety, var. flavescens, is found in higher country in Texas, and hybrids with intermediate flower color occur.
The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds as well as bees. The fruits are rich in saponins, which are poisonous to humans, though not particularly dangerous because they are not easily ingested. The oils can be extracted to make soap, though this is not commercially viable.
Ornamental cultivars such as the low-growing 'Humilis' have been selected for garden use.
Red Buckeye has hybridized with Common Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) in cultivation, the hybrid being named Aesculus × carnea, Red Horse-chestnut. The hybrid is a medium-size tree to 20-25 m tall, intermediate between the parent species in most respects, but inheriting the red flower color from A. pavia. It is a popular tree in large gardens and parks, most commonly the selected cultivar 'Briotii'. Hybrids of Red Buckeye with Yellow Buckeye (A. flava) have also been found, and named Aesculus × hybrida.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Aesculus pavia, Linn. (Pavia rubra, Poir. P. Michauxii, Spach). RED BUCKEYE. Shrub or small tree, 4-20 ft.: lfts. oblong or elliptical, acute at both ends, finely serrate, smooth or pubescent beneath: panicles 4-7 in. long, loose; fls. purplish to dark red; calyx tubular; petals very dissimilar; stamens mostly 8, nearly as long as the petals: fr. smooth. May, June. Va. to Fla. and La.—Many garden forms, as var. humilis, Mouillef. (AE. humilis, Lodd. A. Pavia var. nana, Dipp. A. Pavia var. péndula, Hort. A. rubra var. hùmilis, Loud.). Low shrub, sometimes prostrate, 2-4 ft.: lfts. coarsely and unequally serrate, slightly pubescent beneath, chiefly along the veins: fls. red; calyx dark red. Var. atrosanguinea, Rehd. Fls. very dark red. Var. sublaciniata, Wats. (Pavia atropurpurea, Spach). Lfts. narrower oblong, deeply serrate: fls. dark red. There are also forms with variegated lvs.
- More information about this species can be found on the genus page.
Pests and diseases