Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

fobbg logo
This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Sapindaceae
Aesculus hippocastanum L. and Aesculus x carnea Zeyh.
Horse chestnut and red horse chestnut

Black tag 152
54o 34.868N
5o 55.965W
There are some significant specimens of horse chestnuts in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Along the western edge of the gardens (Colenso Parade) there are fine specimens of the white-flowered horse chestnut - the conker tree of childhood. This tree is native to Greece and was introduced into Western Europe some time after 1600.

In the area to the side of the Tropical Ravine is a collection of the red horse chestnuts. Most of these are probably the hybrid H. x carnea. This is a cross between the white horse chestnut and the red buckeye (A. pavia). Other Aesculus species may be seen elsewhere in the Gardens and are the subject of a separate entry.

Horse chestnuts in the UK are currently under threat from two new diseases, one of which is a bleeding canker caused by a Phytophora fungus similar to that causing the sudden oak death and the other is a leaf miner. This is not lethal, but probably reduces the vigour of the tree making it more susceptible to the bleeding canker

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2008 and 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic