HORSE CHESTNUT(Aesculus hippocastanum) 

Mature horse chestnut trees grow to a height of around 40m and can live for up to 300 years. The bark is smooth and pinky-grey when young, which darkens and develops scaly plates with age. Twigs are hairless and stout; buds are oval, dark red, shiny and sticky. 

Look out for: conkers (seeds) which are surrounded by a spiky green case. Distinctive large leaves have serrated leaflets. 
 
Identified in winter by: twigs which have large, sticky red buds. 

Leaves – The palmate leaves comprise 5–7 pointed, toothed leaflets spreading from a central stem. 

Flowers – Appearing in May, individual flowers have 4–5 fringed petals, which are white with a pink flush at the base. 

Fruits – Once pollinated by insects, each flower develops into a glossy red-brown conker inside a spiky green husk, which falls in autumn

Where to find horse chestnut 

Horse chestnut is native to the Balkan Peninsula. It was first introduced to the UK from Turkey in the late 16th century and widely planted. Though rarely found in woodland, it is a common sight in parks, gardens, streets and on village greens. 

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