State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Aesculus hippocastanum L.

  • Aesculus asplenifolia Loud.
  • Aesculus castanea Gilib.
  • Aesculus memmingeri K.Koch
  • Aesculus procera Salisb.
  • Aesculus septenata Stokes
  • Hippocastanum aesculus Cav.
  • Hippocastanum vulgare Gaertn.
Vernacular Name
Horse Chestnut, Conker Tree
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Medicinal plant; Ornamental species; Nectar source; Industrial crop
The common name "horse-chestnut" (often unhyphenated) is reported as having originated from the erroneous belief that the tree was a kind of chestnut (though in fact only distantly related), together with the observation that the fruit could help panting horses. Aesculus hippocastanum is native to a small area in the Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Balkan mixed forests of South East Europe. However, it can be found in many parts of Europe as far north as Gästrikland in Sweden, as well as in many parks and cities in the United States and Canada. Aesculus hippocastanum is a large tree, growing to about 39 metres (128 ft) tall with a domed crown of stout branches; on old trees the outer branches are often pendulous with curled-up tips. The leaves are opposite and palmately compound, with 5–7 leaflets; each leaflet is 13–30 cm long, making the whole leaf up to 60 cm across, with a 7–20 cm petiole. The leaf scars left on twigs after the leaves have fallen have a distinctive horseshoe shape, complete with seven "nails". The flowers are usually white with a yellow to pink blotch at the base of the petals; they are produced in spring in erect panicles 10–30 cm tall with about 20–50 flowers on each panicle. Its pollens are poisonous for honey bees. Usually only 1–5 fruits develop on each panicle; the shell is a green, spiky capsule containing one (rarely two or three) nut-like seeds called conkers or horse-chestnuts. Each conker is 2–4 cm diameter, glossy nut-brown with a whitish scar at the base. It is widely cultivated in streets and parks throughout the temperate world, and has been particularly successful in places like Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where they are commonly found in parks, streets and avenues. Cultivation for its spectacular spring flowers is successful in a wide range of temperate climatic conditions provided summers are not too hot, with trees being grown as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the Faroe Islands,[8] Reykjavík, Iceland and Harstad, Norway. In Britain and Ireland, the seeds are used for the popular children's game conkers.
Book reference
  • Кузярін О.Т. Судинні рослини території торфовища "Білогорща” (м. Львів) // Наукові основи збереження біотичної різноманітності. - 2010. - Т.1(8), №1. - С.75-90.
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  • Alexander KUZYARIN, Dr, e-mail:

Taxonomic branch