Our Horse Chestnut Trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) are sprouting their beautiful candelabra-shaped flower stalks now.
These unusual trees are native to the Balkans. They were imported into England in 1616, primarily for landscape use, and then exported to the United States for similar purposes – it’s unusual to find one within the woods. It was called a chestnut tree because of similarities to the European Sweet Chestnut Tree (Castanea sativa), but it’s not related to that tree.
Most botanists say that it was called a “Horse” Chestnut because the Turks fed its seeds to cure coughing horses. Some also say that it got that name because, when the trees’ leaves fall, they leave scars on their twigs that look like horseshoes with nail holes. (Brooklin, Maine)