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Plants: Species

Buckeye: California Buckeye or Horse Chestnut Tree Aesculus californica


Sometimes called the California horse chestnut tree, the California buckeye Aesculus californica grows to 40 feet (12 meters) with a broad, leafy crown that provides welcome shade on the dry slopes and canyons where it often grows. Both its leaves and nuts are poisonous, yet many Native American tribes found a way to use the nuts as food: they cracked them open and removed the shells, pounded the seeds into meal, then leached out the toxic tannins with a lengthy soaking. However, they also poured the mashed raw nuts into pools to stupefy or kill fish!