Aesculus hippocastanum L.

Horse chestnut

Family: Sapindaceae
54º 34.868N
5º 55.965W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

Also Aesculus x carnea Zeyh

Red horse chestnut

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