Red Buckeye – Aesculus pavia

Red Buckeye flowers
Red Buckeye flowers

This small tree is located in the eastern and southern United States. Usually found along stream banks, and can tolerate short periods of flooding. This is one of the earliest blooming trees and is a primary early food for returning hummingbirds and butterflies.

The early pioneers often used the bark, and although it was bitter it made an herbal medicine. I have not been able to find reference to specific uses. The wood produces a black dye. The Native peoples of this area used crushed and powdered seeds and branches to throw into the water to stupefy fish, making them easier to catch. The roots produce an oily substance that was made into soap.

The nuts are not edible due to the presence of saponins. These saponins can prove poisonous. In an adult it is not a great threat, but a child is very susceptible to the toxins.

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