Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Plant of the Week: Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

This is one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring and as the leaves just unfurl they have this 3 - 6" in length and they appear like they are in a whorl but in actuality there are 5 leaflets in a compound palmate leaf that gets dark green and glossy during the middle of the summer.  This tree grows 20 to 40' tall and is usually not considered a good street or homestead tree because of all the debris it produces and because all parts of the tree stink when bruised.  This a stunning tree for the natural woodland wildflower garden or rain garden and can be one of the canopy trees where it can get full sunlight or some shade.It likes limestone soils and is quite common in Central Kentucky whereas the other buckeyes in the state, the dwarf red in western and the yellow in eastern, are not as common as this species.  The bark is nothing special to write home about and the fall color is usually a muted yellow although in some years it can be spectacular and even have a tint of red in it. The fruit, believe to bring good luck, is quite appealing and is a dark mahogany color with a light tan eye and it glistens and shines. The nice cluster of 1" long fragrant greenish-yellowish flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies but the plant is not consider an especially good wildlife tree and the fruit is poisonous and parts of the plant are also poisonous. The Native Americans called this the "hetuck" tree because the fruit resembles the eye of a buck deer and "hetuck" means eye-of-the-buck.  The tree is susceptible to leaf blotch, anthracnose, and powdery mildew.  As you wander around the woods this early spring, look for the buckeye as it will probably be the first tree leafed out in the woods.

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