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Yellow BuckeyeAesculus flava (octandra)

  • Yellow Buckeye - Aesculus flava (octandra)
The yellow buckeye is a rugged beauty, with its thick bark, interesting yellow spring blooms, and striking orange fall color. In parks and yards, it serves as an attractive and dense shade tree suitable as a pleasing focal point or a visual screen.

But where does the word "buckeye" come from? This tree actually gets its name from the whitish scar found on each brown seed. It is said to give the seed the appearance of a deer's eye.

Hardiness Zones

The yellow buckeye can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–8. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The yellow buckeye grows to a height of 60–75' and a spread of around 30' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The yellow buckeye grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. While it prefers normal moisture, the tree has some flooding and drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Yields smooth, greenish to pale brown fruit 2–3" in diameter that contains 1 or 2 shiny brown seeds.
  • Is relatively pest-free.
  • Blooms in May, with numerous yellow blossoms arranged in erect clusters (panicles) that are 5–7" long.
  • Requires little maintenance.
  • Tolerates urban conditions.
  • Grows in an oval shape.
  • Provides lovely fall color, with leaves turning yellow to pumpkin orange.
  • Features dark green leaves that are made up of 5 nearly elliptical leaftlets arranged like fingers on a long petiole.

Wildlife Value

Yellow buckeyes grow in mature hardwood forests, providing shelter and nesting sites for the animals dwelling in those forests. This tree is not used as a food source due to the poisonous nature of its flowers, fruits and shoots.


As well as the belief in the good fortune of its storied seed, the buckeye has been held to cure rheumatism and other, more minor ailments. Pioneering farm families also made soap from the kernels of buckeye seeds, and many a child's cradle was carved from the wood of this tree. Before the advent of synthetic materials, the wood was used to make artificial limbs because of its light weight and resistance to splitting.