Sunday, October 4, 2009

Buckeye and Horse Chestnut

Early to bed... early to rise... certainly applies... to the Buckeyes! Aesculus glabra (Buckeye) is one of the earliest trees to turn color and shed its leaves in the fall, and one of the earliest to leaf out in spring. Its palmate leaves usually bear 5 leaflets. A similar species, Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut), native to Eurasia, usually has 7 leaflets. It is cultivated and rarely escapes. Both have leaflets irregularly toothed - as if chewed by a Ferengi.
Buckeye - Aesculus glabra
Horse Chestnut - Aesculus hippocastanum
The wood of Buckeye is lightweight and soft, not highly valued for furniture or cabinetry. So, what can you do with light grey Buckeye wood? You can... carve an Eeyore!


Justin Thomas said...

Fun post, Keith. Did you carve the Eeyore?

One of my favorite things to do when I encounter a Buckeye tree is to break a twig off and instantly sniff the broken end. For about 10 seconds it has a skunk odor which then fades. You should try it sometime.

Scott said...

Be sure that when you scratch and sniff the Buckeye that it is not raining an you are not leading a field trip. It doesn't smell then, I've found out.

Keith said...

Yes, Justin, I carved Eeyore as a gift for my sister-in-law when she earned her nursing degree several years ago.

I'll try smelling a broken Aesculus twig as soon as possible. When I was a kid I loved the smell of a skunk (and cow manure) because they reminded me of fishing trips to northern Wisconsin. Other than that I never left the city (Gary) and we kept bags of rat poison under the trailer, so no skunks, raccoons, or rats ever lived in the vicinity.

"10 seconds" reminds me that if you pick an Alsike Clover (Trifolium hybridum) it smells like Concord grapes, but only for about 3 seconds.

Scott, your comment brings to mind Board's Axiom #1: "It always works, unless you're trying to show someone."