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Mexican buckeye
Mexican buckeye flowers
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Genus: Ungnadia
U. speciosa
Binomial name
Ungnadia speciosa
Natural range
Mexican buckeye form

Ungnadia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Sapindaceae containing one species, Ungnadia speciosa, the Mexican buckeye. It is native to northern Mexico, as well as Texas and southern New Mexico in the United States.[3][2] The name honours Austrian ambassador Baron David von Ungnad, who brought the horse chestnut to Vienna in 1576, introducing the plant into western Europe.[4][5][6][7]

It differs from the buckeyes in the related genus Aesculus but the seeds and nuts are similar.[8][6][9][10] Another similar related genus is the soapberry (genus Sapindus). Ungnadia seeds are poisonous despite their sweetness, and sometimes used as marbles.[11] The foliage is toxic and rarely browsed by livestock, but bees produce honey from the floral nectar.[6]


Ungnadia speciosa is a deciduous shrub or small tree (< 25 ft) that is often multi-trunked. The leaves (5–12 inches or 13–30 centimetres) are alternate and pinnately compound with 5 to 9 leaflets. The leaflets are long (3–5 inches or 7.6–12.7 centimetres), narrow, and pointed with slight serrations.[12][6]


  1. ^ Machuca Machuca, K.; Martínez Salas, E.; Samain, M.-S. (2021). "Ungnadia speciosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T126621644A136785643. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T126621644A136785643.en. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Ungnadia speciosa". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  3. ^ a b "Ungnadia Endl". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-03-29. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  4. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. Vol. 4 R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2760. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3.
  5. ^ Endlicher, Stephan (1841). Enchiridion botanicum, exhibens classes et ordines plantarum accedit nomenclator generum et officinalium vel usualium indicatio. Lipsiae,Sumptibus G. Engelmann. p. 565.
  6. ^ a b c d Little, Elbert L. (1994) [1980]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Western Region (Chanticleer Press ed.). Knopf. p. 544. ISBN 0394507614.
  7. ^ Endlicher, Stephan (1839). Novarum stirpium decas I-X. Vindobonae :Typis Sollingerianis. p. 75.
  8. ^ Young, James A.; Young, Cheryl G. (2009). Seeds of Woody Plants in North America. Dioscorides Press. ISBN 978-1604691122.
  9. ^ Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. (2008). The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Vol. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  10. ^ Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., eds. (1990). Silvics of North America. Vol. Agric. Handbook No. 654. Washington, DC.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  11. ^ Stahl, Carmine; McElvaney, Ria (2003). Trees of Texas. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press. ISBN 978-1-60344-515-3.
  12. ^ Nokes, Jill (2001). How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0292755734.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ungnadia at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Ungnadia speciosa at Wikispecies