Content Detail

Bottlebrush buckeye is a handsome shrub that has memorable long fluffy white flower clusters in early July. It is useful as an understory planting in woodland gardens, as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border. The wonderful, coarse-textured, dark green compound leaves turn rich buttery yellow in the fall. This is a large shrub that tends to sucker and, over time, will grow twice as broad as it is high, so it should only be used in large-scale plantings. Also known as Aesculus macrostachya.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and Form:

Bottlebrush buckeye will grow 8 to 12 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide. Since it is thicket-forming, plan to use only in large-scale plantings. It is ideal for understory planting in native and woodland gardens.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to the Southeastern United States.


Bottlebrush buckeye is a wide-spreading suckering shrub with attractive, open, and slender branching.

Leaf arrangement, size, shape and texture:

This shrub has opposite, compound leaves with five to seven leaflets. They are 3 to 8 inches long and medium to dark green in the summer, turning buttery yellow in the fall. 

Flower arrangement size and shape:

Bottlebrush-shaped clusters of delicate white flowers up to 12 inches long appear in June to July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It has smooth pear-shaped nuts (buckeyes) in fall with bright yellow husk. The buckeyes should not be eaten.

Plant care:

This plant is sensitive to drought and must be watered in dry periods. Bottlebrush buckeye flowers on old wood, so prune after it’s finished flowering when necessary.

List of pests and diseases:

Leaf scorch is possible when planted in sunny locations.

Roger’s Late bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parvilfora var. serotina ‘Rogers’):

This cultivar typically flowers two weeks later than the species. Flower panicles can reach 18 to 30 inches long. It may be difficult to find in nurseries.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift