Content Detail

Red buckeye is quite lovely in spring, with its tall clusters of red flowers. Red buckeye is a small tree, able to be planted under power lines. It may be difficult to find in nursery trade.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)
  • Planting site Residential and parks, Under utility lines
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Mature height 15-20 feet
  • Mature width 15-30 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Road salt
  • Season of interest late spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Red
  • Shape or form Oval, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations Messy fruit/plant parts
  • Wildlife Browsers, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

More Information

Native Geographic Location and Habitat  

Native to the southern United States, up into the southern tip of Illinois.

Bark Description

Bark is dark brown, relatively smooth, and flaking off with age.

Leaf Arrangement, Size, Shape, and Texture

The opposite leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets and 3 to 6 inches long. Leaves are handsome, dark green in summer with minimal fall color.

Flower Arrangement, Shape, and Size

Terminal clusters of carmine-red flowers are 4 to 8 inches long.

Fruit, Nut, and Seed Descriptions

Shiny, brown nuts (buckeyes) form in a smooth, oval husk. Buckeye seeds are inedible and toxic. They should not be eaten.

Care Knowledge

Plant Care

Red buckeye is best sited in part shade. Supply adequate moisture in full sun situations.

Pests, Diseases, and Tolerances  

Powdery mildew and leaf blotch are potential problems.


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