* Leaves compound in the
shape of a fan, with 5-11 leaflets.
* Leaflets each 4-10", widest near abruptly pointed tip.
* Flowers creamy white, marked with red or yellow, in 8-12" clusters.
* Seeds in spiny capsules.
* Bark dark brown, with irregular plates.
* Height: 25-60'.
* Usually planted along the streets of central North America as a shade
* Introduced; Horsechestnuts are found in both Asia and southeastern
Europe, from the Balkans to the Himalayas.
* Horsechestnuts, unlike American chestnuts, do not produce edible fruit.
The round fruits are put to other uses, however. Often called conkers
(from 'conquerers'), they were and in some places still are used in
* Where do horses come in? The tree has medicinal uses, and
Turkish people used to feed parts of it to their ailing horses.
Horsechestnut bark also yields a black dye for silk and cotton.
* Horsechestnuts have colorful, wild-looking flowers, which
are pictured at the right.