LATIN NAMEAesculus hippocastanum
About the Horse Chestnut
A tree that Irish people are very familiar with, the Horse Chestnut is not actually a native species. Originally grown across eastern and southern Europe – from the Balkans to Greece, Albania and Bulgaria – the species is now endangered within its own habitat in the wild.
Grown as an ornamental tree in Ireland for the past 200 years, it’s most commonly found in woodlands and hedgerows, and generally reaches up to 36 metres in height. The tree grows into a domed collection of thick branches, which are covered with large, sticky brown buds. In Spring, these flower into white flowers with pink or yellow spots before spiky fruits known as chestnuts or conkers develop in the Autumn and fall to the ground.
Conkers were once widely used as horse feed and the tree’s wood is too soft to have much commercial value.
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