The trees in the Buckeye Collection of The Morton Arboretum bloom beautifully in spring, with flowers found in cone-shaped clusters. These flowers can be white, red, yellow, pink, and purple! It is amazing to see such a diverse floral display on these large trees and shrubs.
The Buckeye Collection contains both trees and shrubs of the genus Aesculus. The species in this collection are commonly known as either buckeyes or horse-chestnuts, and the collection contains 25 different kinds of species, varieties, hybrids, and cultivars from around the world. The collection was started in 1940 and now covers 10 acres.
The common name buckeye comes from the seeds’ resemblance to the eye of a male deer (seeds are a glossy chestnut-brown with a light center circular “eye” marking). Buckeyes are native to the temperate areas of North America, Europe, and eastern Asia. The genus is well represented by 395 specimens in the collection and throughout the Arboretum grounds. Of these, three prominent species include the American native, yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava), European horse-chestnut (A. hippocastanum), and Japanese horse-chestnut (A. turbinata). Standing in front of them, one cannot help but admire their imposing size and beauty.
Look for bottlebrush buckeye (A. parviflora) along the East Side Main Route, which displays show-stopping, white, bottlebrush-shaped flowers in June and July. Also along the Main Route (in a large bed) are many specimens of red buckeye (A. pavia) that bloom with beautiful red flowers. The Ohio buckeye (A. glabra), state tree of Ohio, is widely planted at the Arboretum. Walk deeper into the collection on the south side of the Main Route to see the pink and purple flowers of our large specimens of Japanese horse-chestnut (A. turbinata).