All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.
Native or Introduced to Illinois: native
Natural Habit in Illinois: moist woods, bottomland woods
Leaf: The leaves are opposite and palmately compound, with the five individual leaflets much narrowed toward the base. They are light green and smooth above, yellowish green below and hairy along the veins. When crushed they have an unpleasant odor.
Flower: Flowers are creamy to greenish yellow, about 1-2 cm long, in large, showy, upright, branched, terminal clusters at ends of leafy branches, only those flowers near the base of the branches of a cluster are perfect and fertile -- the others are staminate; petals 4; stamens longer than petals.
Fruit: The fruit is large, rounded, fleshy tan husk dividing into two or three parts, covered with prickles or warts and enclosing one or two round, mahogany-brown shiny nuts with a prominent spot or eye on one end.
Twig: The twigs are reddish brown to ashy gray, upright, very stout, straight and coarse.
Bark: The bark is ashy gray to gray-brown, breaking into irregular shallow plates covered with roughened scales.
Size/Form/Shape: The Ohio buckeye is a medium-sized tree, reaching 50 to 60 feet in height and 18 to 20 inches in diameter with a short, limby trunk and a compact, rounded head.
The soft, light wood of Ohio buckeye has limited commercial use as sawtimber and
it is of little commercial importance. It
is used for making artificial limbs because it is light, easily worked, and
resists splitting; it is also used in small quantities for various kinds of
woodenware, crates, veneer, and toys. Pioneers
used the wood for cabin structure and furniture.
Ornamental: The tree is an
attractive ornamental, best in open, natural settings or parks because of its
broad crown. It also is sometimes
cultivated as an ornamental shrub.
Other: Buckeye seeds have sometimes
been carried as good-luck charms and to prevent rheumatism.
Despite the poisonous properties to humans and livestock squirrels are known to eat the raw seeds. Roasted
seeds were eaten by Native Americans as a starchy meal.
County Distribution Map for Illinois:
Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:
- Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN) @ http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/delaware/ilpin/ilpin.html#Background
- List of Woody Plants Native or Naturalized in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html
- Tree Species @ http://ostermiller.org/tree/species.html
- Index to Eastern/Central Trees @ http://www.arborday.org/trees/ECtreelist.html
- ISU Forestry Extension Identification of Common Trees of Iowa @ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/tree/
- Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees @ http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/forsite/key/intro.htm
- List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/treetable.html
- The PLANTS Database @ http://plants.usda.gov/