Despite it being poisonous, the conker is famous for its medicinal uses as well as its starring role in the classic schoolyard game of Conkers. Mature horse chestnut trees grow to a height of around 40m and can live for up to 300 years. Develops exfoliating bark as it gets older, with outer bark peeling away to reveal orange bark underneath. Is one of the earliest trees to leaf out. It affects trees of all ages and produces external and internal symptoms. Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. These are catkins fully developed with burs that are ready to be pollinated. Horse Chestnut Tree, Facts & Information on Horse Chestnut Trees. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a type of tree that grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere. (Note: the nuts of the horse chestnut are not edible.) Horse Chestnut - bark splitting and leaves yellowing . Manufacturers of horse chestnut products remove the toxic component, esculin. In herbal and folk medicine, horse chestnut seed, leaves, bark, and flowers have long been used to relieve symptoms, such as swelling and … The Latin name for horse chestnut is aesculus hippocastanum, a tree native to the southeastern European region called the Balkans. Each individual leaflet is saw-toothed and elliptical in shape, tapering to a petiolule-less base (a petiolule is the stalk that attaches the leaflets to the leaf--petiolule is to leaflet as petiole is to leaf). Chinese chestnuts bloom earlier than American chestnuts. A coin toss usually decides who takes the first swing in Conkers, but on the playground this is more often a matter of whoever shouts “Obli, obli, oh, my first go” (or something similar) first. The flowers of Sourwood can be mistaken for chestnut at a distance. A decoction made from the leaves and bark of horse chestnut tree has been used traditionally as a remedy for diarrhea and hemorrhoids, and as a natural treatment for bronchitisand pertussis. Rules of play (World Conker Championships): (note: the following rules were taken directly from the World Conker Championships’ website), Competition rules do not allow “stamps”, while “snags” do not give an extra swing. May treat varicose veins. Several saplings were prepared in the years leading up to the tree’s death, eleven of which have been distributed throughout the United States. Conkers appear in September and fall to the ground as they ripen ("Horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum)"). (n.d.).Â, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/202914/0, http://www.worldconkerchampionships.com/html/conkers_about.html, http://annefrank.com/the-sapling-project/, http://guide.makebonsai.com/bonsai_species_guide_training.asp?SpeciesID=…, http://www.arkive.org/horse-chestnut/aesculus-hippocastanum/image-A16592…, http://www.arborday.org/treeguide/treeDetail.cfm?ID=256, http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/learn/british-trees/non-native-trees/hor…, http://www.ukraine.com/blog/kiev-s-spectacular-horse-chestnut-trees, http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/628.pdf, http://www.thereaction.net/news/y2010/m10/spiders_versus_conkers_definit…, http://www.worldconkerchampionships.com/html/conkers_history.html, http://www.worldconkerchampionships.com/html/conkers_rules.html, http://cdnsecakmi.kaltura.com/p/334831/sp/33483100/thumbnail/entry_id/1_…, soaking or boiling in vinegar or salt water, partially baking for about one half hour in the oven. The conkers reach maturity in late summer/early autumn and fall to the ground in autumn ("The Woodland Trust", "Horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum)", Little 1980). Grows in an oval to rounded shape. Right, rounded toxic horse chestnuts without a tassel. Esculin can be removed Properly processing horse chestnut seed extract removes esculin.. It's native to Southeastern Europe but is grown in parks, landscaped areas, and gardens around the world. Trees in the genus Aesculus produce toxic, inedible nuts and have been planted as ornamentals throughout the U.S. and are sometimes incorrectly represented as an edible variety. These products appear to be safe, as there have been few reports of harmful side effects despite being widely used in Europe. As a result, winning conkers can quickly attain very large scores (“All About Conkers”). Horse Chestnut tree. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Horse chestnut, also known as buckeye and Spanish chestnut, the seeds, leaves, bark and flowers of horse chestnut trees have long been used medicinally. Horse chestnut. The bark of the trunk is first smooth and later slightly cracked. The decoc… Caused by bacteria, bleeding canker of horse chestnuts is a disease that impacts the health and vigor of horse chestnut tree bark. This is a hybrid cross between red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) and Common horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). Buds. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocasanum), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 3 to 8, and American chestnut (Castanea dentata), hardy in USDA zones 5 … Chestnut trees are attractive, with reddish-brown or grey bark, smooth when the trees are young, but furrowed with age. Its seed, bark, flower, and leaves are used to make medicine. Although they both bear the name "chestnut," they are not relatedl. If a player drops his conker or it is knocked from his hand, the other player can shout “stamps” and immediately stamp on the conker; but should its owner first shout “no stamps”, then “stamps” is disallowed and the conker (hopefully) remains intact (“All About Conkers”). Horse chestnut. Each year, the horse chestnut produces sticky black buds in the spring, which eventually become the clusters of white flowers seen in late spring, usually from April to mid-May. Look out for: conkers (seeds) which are surrounded by a spiky green case. Updated November 30, 2016. The horse chestnut leaf miner can also do the trees some damage, but it is usually not significant. Twigs are hairless and stout; buds are oval, dark red, shiny and sticky. Hardening techniques (“All About Conkers”): Rules of play (on the playground): (note: the following rules were taken directly from the World Conker Championships’ website). The horse chestnut’s flowers appear in the spring and they are white in color. It has a spreading, rounded crown and massive clusters of flowers. The fruit of the chestnut tree, however, may be eaten. This hybrid is less susceptible to leaf blotch and mildew than European horse-chestnut. The bark is thin, smooth, and well fissured. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health. I have fairly young (10 years)and well established Horse chestnut tree which has been showing signs of distress. To prevent gastrointestinal upset, choose a delayed-release formulation. When the horse chestnut is young, its bark is a smooth pinky grey ("The Woodland Trust"). The buds of the chestnut are large, ovate pointed, green-brown and often sticky. Along with their beautiful flowers and seedpods, the horse chestnut tree also exhibits an interesting bark with twisted limbs. Hardiness: Zones 4 through 7 If he misses he is allowed up to two further goes. If your tree lookes like this, then it is probably a beech tree. Underneath the buds there are noticeably large leaf scars. In order to ensure the safe use of horse chestnut, make sure to consult your physician if you're considering using the herb to treat CVI or another chronic health condition. Photo by Whiteaster/Shutterstock. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow (Little 1980). Very little research has been done on horse chestnut for other conditions. If the strings tangle, the first player to call “strings” or “snags” gets an extra shot. 2015;25(5):533-41. doi:10.1016/j.bjp.2015.05.009, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. However, the incidence of the disease in Great Britain increased signifcantly during the early 21st century. Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles, California. In fact, causing snags is considered bad sportsmanship and can be grounds for disqualification. Drugs.com. People with kidney or liver disease and bleeding disorders should avoid horse chestnut. For example, if a “two-er” beat a “fiver”, it would become an “eight-er” (its two, the other conker’s five, and an additional one for the win over the “fiver”). Note, too, that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications hasn't been established. They are typically found in upright branched clusters, or panicles, approximately ten inches (10" or 25cm) in length (Little 1980). Those flowers, once pollinated by insects, each develop into a conker with a spiky green shell. If there is plenty of other food, such as grass or hay available, your horse probably won’t touch any of the trees within its reach. In playground tournaments, each victory adds to a conker’s score. The horse chestnut can grow up to 25 meters (85 ft) high. In 2000 only four cases were reported, but th… The non-native tree can be a bit messy and offers little in the way of vibrant fall foliage, but it makes an excellent choice to line streets or provide some shade from the sun. When a conker beats another conker, though, it absorbs the losing conker’s score. Horse Chestnut Trees [Aesculus hippocastanum] This is 3 fully textured PBR models of Horse Chestnut trees. The twigs are light brown, stout, and have large, black sticky buds at the tips (Little 1980). However, as they reach maturity they become darker on top. In severe cases, horse chestnut trees may succumb to this disease. The scientific name of the horse chestnut tree is Aesculus hippocastanum.Despite its common name, horse chestnut isn't closely related to true chestnut trees. A tea made from the leaves or bark has also been used internally to treat periodical high fever, malaria, and dysentery, and it was once used to treat lupus and skin sores. The horse chestnut has perfect flowers, meaning that each flower has both male and female reproductive parts ("The Woodland Trust"). Full rules can be found here:Â. The leaves are light green when they first start to grow, but as they reach maturity they become darker on top and remain lighter on the underside. Bleeding canker is a disease of horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum). It is sometimes called horse-chestnut, buckeye, conker tree, or Spanish chestnut. Varicose veins are swollen, bulging veins that typically occur in the legs … Poisoning from the fresh, unprocessed herb—which includes its leaves, bark, or flowers—can lead to sickness.. Horse chestnut trees grow in USDA zones 3a to 6b. There are generally one to three brown seeds within the husk. Horsechestnut Aesculus hippocastanum Beautiful, 5"-12" oblong clusters of white flowers with a yellow and red tint at their base characterize this large flowering tree perfect for large areas. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. When the horse chestnut is young, its bark is a smooth pinky grey ("The Woodland Trust"). Research suggests that horse chestnut seed extract may be useful in treating CVI. Aesculi is a bacterium that causes bleeding canker of horse chestnut. The upright cluster of flowers can be from 5 to 12 inches in length. These clusters are popularly called "candles" in the UK because they seem to "light up the tree" ("The Woodland Trust"). This particular horse chestnut is the gateway to the Marsh Botanical Gardens, which is just down the hill from this tree. The horse chestnut is a shade and ornamental tree with an upright elliptical shape. ).But have you ever wondered why this grand tree, which provides us with not only aesthetic pleasure but hands-on, … According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, evidence to support the beneficial impact of horse chestnut on other conditions besides CVI is lacking., Never ingest any part of the horse chestnut tree. As the tree matures, the bark darkens and develops a scalier, more fissured texture ("The Woodland Trust"). His opponent, the striker, wraps his conker string round his hand. The horse chestnut can grow in a variety of soils, although it prefers rich moist soils ("Horse chestnut", Little 1980). Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. Those backcross hybrid trees (15/16th hybrids) which leaf out and bloom earlier than native KY American … The husk is thick and leathery, which protects the seeds within the fruit. (Aescin is a different compound and is considered to be safe.) Releasing the conker, he swings it down by the string held in the other hand and tries to hit his opponent’s conker with it. That's an area approximately from the Canadian border to southern Missouri, excluding desert and mountain areas and the Pacific Coast. It is native to southeast Europe (particularly the Pindus mountains mixed forests and the Balkan mixed forests of the Balkan peninsula), but it was introduced into other parts of Europe as well as North America. Aesculus hippocastanum, the horse chestnut, is a species of flowering plant in the soapberry and lychee family Sapindaceae.It is a large deciduous, synoecious (hermaphroditic-flowered) tree. Horse chestnut should not be combined with aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), Coumadin (warfarin), and other anticoagulant or anti-platelet (blood-thinning) drugs unless under medical supervision as it may increase the effect of these medications.. They also have long pointed buds. Horse chestnut extract may produce a number of adverse effects, including itching, nausea, or gastrointestinal problems, muscle aches, and headache.. Yields a light brown, spiny fruit 2–2¼" in diameter that contains 1 (sometimes 2) blackish, nut-like seed. As the tree matures the bark becomes scaly with rough ridges, and the color o… Privacy policy. Center, fleshy husk of horse chestnut. Updated December 5, 2019. Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved, Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow (Little 1980). While the leaves and bark of this tree are used for various medicinal purposes, the primary element used in herbal medicine is the horse chestnut seed, which is found in the fruit of this plant. Horse chestnut is a tree. The saplings can be found at the White House; the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis where the saplings were originally quarantined upon entry into the U.S.; Sonoma State University in California; Southern Cayuga School District in New York; the Washington State Holocaust Resource Center; Boston Common; the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan; the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial; the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas; and Liberty Park at Ground Zero in New York City, which commemorates the 9/11 terrorist attacks (“Sapling Project”). NIH. It causes lesions on the bark of the tree that can be near the base of the trunk or higher. Bleeding canker on horse chestnut trees was first reported in Britain in the 1970s, although it had been recognised in the USA in the 1930s. Horse chestnut trees thrive where they can get sufficient amounts of water. In herbal and folk medicine, horse chestnut seed, leaves, bark, and flowers have long been used to relieve symptoms, such as swelling and inflammation, and to strengthen blood vessel walls. In a systematic review of 12 clinical trials published in 2012, for instance, horse chestnut seed extract improved leg pain, swelling, and itching in people with CVI when taken for a short time. Researchers concluded that "the evidence presented suggests that horse chestnut seed extract is an efficacious and safe short‐term treatment for CVI." The leaves of the horse chestnut are palmately compound with either five or seven leaflets spreading like fingers. Canker causes the bark of the tree to “bleed” a dark colored secretion. Horse Chestnut trees (Aesculus Hippocastanums) are currently shedding their smooth, shiny conkers (much to the children's delight! Most supplements are standardized to contain 20-120 milligrams of aescin. The most common dosage is 50 milligrams of aescin two or three times a day. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. This Southeastern Europe native has become fully Americanized and is seen throughout the country in parks and on golf courses and college campuses. Bark. It has a lovely view of sunset through the many other beautiful trees in the area. There are other differences between the trees. Each individual flower has four or five white, fringed petals with red and yellow spots near the base (Little 1980). These include bleeding canker, which can cause their death; Guignardia leaf blotch; and horse chestnut scale insect. Elements of the chestnut tree such as its bark and fruit are ground down to produce a powder which is rubbed and soaked into the hides in wooden barrels. The game is won when one player destroys the other’s conker. Rev Bras Farmacogn. Also known regionally as “buckeyes,” the leaves, seeds, and sprouts of horse chestnut trees are poisonous to horses and can cause multiple digestive ailments, and, if severe enough, some nervous system issues. The horse chestnut and the chestnut tree are two entirely different trees. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a type of tree that grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The History of Ashton Conker Club. Anything in your horse’s pastures is fair game for tasting. A decoction of the bark and leaf is believed to have a constricting effect and has been used externally as a natural treatment for on varicose veins. The capsule is 2-2 1/2" (5-6 cm) in diameter and splits into two or three parts to reveal one or two conkers inside (Little 1980). General info on Horsechestnut trees. The horse chestnut provides dense shade and has been widely planted in Iowa as an ornamental. It is gray or brown in color (Little 1980). It is situated in the corner of my garden set back about 10 metres from a main town road. Horse chestnut has been proven effective for people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI is a condition in which the veins don't efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart and is linked to problems like varicose veins, ankle swelling, and nighttime leg cramping. Horse Chestnut. Bark color and texture Bark is gray-brown, becoming platy as the tree ages. Instead, buy a commercial supplement. When the leaves of the horse chestnut first appear in spring, they are light green. An ancient method of tanning, Maxwell – Scott helps to safeguard this natural and environmentally-conscious technique. A conker who has one two battles, for example, is called a “two-er”. The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a medium-sized to large tree, reaching a height of 50 to 70 feet. The horse chestnut is native to the mixed forests of the Pindus mountains of Greece and Balkan Peninsula (including Albania, Macedonia and part of Eastern Bulgaria) but has been introduced in many urban and suburban settings, particularly in parks, large gardens, and along streets ("Horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum)"). National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health. As the tree matures, the bark darkens and develops a scalier, more fissured texture ("The Woodland Trust"). The horse chestnut is cultivated mainly for its ornamental value; its fruit is inedible. The other native trees that bloom late in the year around the same time as American chestnuts are Black Locust and Sourwood. The leaf miner simply causes the leaves to turn brown and fall early, but this happens so late in the season that it rarely has any effect on the tree's wellbeing ("The Woodland Trust"). Although conkers are poisonous for most animals when ingested, some mammals, particularly deer, are able to digest them safely ("The Woodland Trust"). They are oval or lance-shaped and edged by widely separated teeth. The conkers often have a whitish scar at the base. These trees have toothed leaves, and smooth gray bark. Dudek-Makuch M, Studzińska-Sroka E. Horse chestnut – efficacy and safety in chronic venous insufficiency: an overview.