The red buckeye is a shrub or small
understory tree that may reach 20-30 feet in height. It is characterized
by attractive compound leaves and upright clusters of dark red flowers.
Leaves are palmately compound, opposite,
and deciduous. There are 5, sometimes 7, leaflets per leaf, which
are oval to elliptic in shape, with an acute apex. The leaflet bases
are tapered. Leaf margins are irregularly serrate or doubly serrate.
The leaf surfaces are dark green and glabrous or sparsely pubescent above,
slightly paler below. Leaf petioles are stout at the base, tapering
slightly to the leaflets, and are 3-5 inches long.
The flowers are polygamous, irregular, upright, and dark red.
Fruit is a small, brown, leathery capsule, 1-2 inches in diameter.
The twigs are stout, dark reddish-brown,
and pubescent at first, becoming gray and glabrous. The pith is small,
white, and homogeneous.
The bark is gray-brown or dark brown.
The red buckeye grows in mesic woodlands,
bottomlands, stream banks, hammocks, and parts of floodplains that are
rarely and briefly flooded. It grows on the Atlantic coastal plain
from southeastern North Carolina to central Florida; west to central Texas;
north to southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northwestern Georgia.
This tree is used as a handsome ornamental
in parks and on lawns.
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