Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive
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.
Aesculus hippocastanum L. and
Aesculus x carnea Zeyh.
Horse chestnut and red horse chestnut
Black tag 152
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
Aesculus hippocastanum large horse chestnut in Belfast Botanic Gardens
flower of horse chestnut
Red horse chestnuts near the Tropical Ravine in Belfast Botanic Gardens
Aesculus hippocastanum Flowers of red horse chestnut
Bleeding canker on horse chestnut trunk
Leaf miner damage on horse chestnut
Horseshoe-shaped leaf scar on horse chestnut branch
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2008 and 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic