Aesculus parviflora

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bottlebrush buckeye

Vulnerable  (NatureServe)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Aesculus
A. parviflora
Binomial name
Aesculus parviflora
Walt. 1788
Generalized natural range
  • Aesculus alba (Poir.) Raf.
  • Aesculus macrostachya Michx.
  • Aesculus macrostachys Pers.
  • Aesculus odorata F.Dietr.
  • Aesculus parviflora f. serotina Rehder
  • Macrothyrsus discolor Spach
  • Macrothyrsus odorata Raf.
  • Nebropsis alba (Poir.) Raf.
  • Pavia alba Poir.
  • Pavia edulis Poit.
  • Pavia macrostachys Loisel.
  • Pavia parviflora Raf.
  • Pawia parviflora Kuntze

Aesculus parviflora, the bottlebrush buckeye[3] or small-flowered buckeye,[2] is a species of suckering deciduous shrub in the family Sapindaceae. The species is native to the southeastern United States, where it is found primarily in Alabama and Georgia, with a disjunct population in South Carolina along the Savannah River.[4][5] Its natural habitat is in mesic forests, on bluffs and in ravines.[4]

This plant is highly poisonous to humans if eaten. Symptoms include muscle weakness, paralysis, vomiting, diarrhea, and death.[6] It has also been reported to be toxic to pets.[7]


Aesculus parviflora grows to 2–4 m tall.[8] The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, palmately compound with 5-7 leaflets, each leaflet short-stalked, 12–22 cm long and 5–10 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in conspicuous erect panicles 20–50 cm long resembling a traditional bottle brush, each flower with a tubular calyx, small white petals, and several protruding 3–4 cm long stamens. The flowers give way to pear-shaped capsules containing polished, brown seeds.[6]

The Latin specific epithet parviflora means "small-flowered".[9]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Aesculus parviflora is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, where its August flowering attracts butterflies. It prefers moist, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. In the US, it is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 4–8.[8]

The naturalist, explorer and plant collector William Bartram first noted this undescribed shrub on his travels through Carolina, Georgia and Florida in 1773–78.[10] An old example was still to be found in Bartram's Garden, Philadelphia, in 1930.[11]

Aesculus parviflora was introduced to British horticulture through the activities of John Fraser, who made his first botanizing trip through the American South in 1785. Fraser's finds were distributed among English nurserymen like Lee and Kennedy or Loddiges or to private patrons, and the shrub was "to be met with in most of our nurseries" by 1820.[12] This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13]



  1. ^ IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group.; Botanic Gardens Conservation International; et al. (BGCI) (2020). "Aesculus parviflora". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T152911083A152911085. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T152911083A152911085.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b NatureServe (4 August 2023). "Aesculus parviflora". NatureServe Network Biodiversity Location Data accessed through NatureServe Explorer. Arlington, Virginia: NatureServe. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Aesculus parviflora". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b Alan Weakley (2015). "Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States".
  5. ^ "Aesculus parviflora". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  7. ^ "Flowering Plants Non Poisonous to Pets". Home Guides | SF Gate. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  8. ^ a b "Aesculus parviflora - Plant Finder". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  9. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  10. ^ Noted by Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Aesculus"; Bartram's botanizing explorations were recorded in his Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc., 1791.
  11. ^ Coats 1992.
  12. ^ Quoted in Coats 1992.
  13. ^ "Aesculus parviflora". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 10 March 2020.

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