The horse chestnut tree is a large flowering tree in the buckeye family. In spring, it blooms clusters of tiny white flowers with yellow and red bases. From midsummer to fall, the chestnuts grow in spiny green pods. Horse chestnut trees also have a peculiar bark pattern, twisted limbs and deciduous leaves composed of five to seven leaflets.
The horse chestnut tree is a native to southern Europe and has been grown since at least 1576. It is now widely planted throughout the United States.
The horse chestnut tree grows to a height of between 25 and 75 feet. It has a bushy, medium-wide spreading crown.
The horse chestnut tree prefers full sun to partial shade and tolerates many soil types, although it grows best in moist, well-drained soil. It is hardy in zones 3 through 8 (see Resources). The tree is resistant to most pests.
Although attractive and unusual, the horse chestnut tree is not for everyone as it litters the lawn annually with its chestnuts. The chestnuts are large and can be thrown forcefully from lawnmowers, so they should be raked up before mowing.
Horse chestnuts are not edible.