The seed is rich in saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Seed - cooked
. It can be dried, ground into a flour and used as a gruel. The seed is quite large, up to 35mm in diameter
, and is easily harvested[K]. It is quite rich in saponins and needs to be leached of these toxins before it becomes safe to eat - the Indians would do this by slow-roasting the nuts (which would have rendered the saponins harmless) and then cutting them into thin slices, putting them into a cloth bag and rinsing them in a stream for 2 - 5 days. By this time most of the minerals etc would also have been leached out[K].
Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute
. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts[K].
Wood - close-grained, light, soft, white, but often blemished by dark lines of decay
. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot
. It is easy to carve and resists splitting. Ideal to use in making artificial limbs, it is also used for woodenware, pulp etc and is occasionally sawn into lumber
Minute doses of the seed are used internally in the treatment of spasmodic coughs, asthma and internal irritations
. It is used externally as a tea or an ointment in the treatment of rheumatism and piles
An extract of the bark has been used as an irritant of the cerebro-spinal system
Seed - best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe
. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather
. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable
. It is best to sow the seed with its 'scar' downwards
. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Aesculus glabra. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy
This species is the state tree of Ohio. Its growth-rate is moderate in the wild, with trees living up to 100 years. In Britain, it grows best in eastern and south-eastern areas of England probably needing a continental climate in order to thrive. Although the trees are hardy when dormant, the new growth can be damaged by late spring frosts.
The twigs, bark, flowers and leaves all produce a foetid odour if crushed.
Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Aesculus glabra. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Aesculus glabra.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
? 2.02.12.22.22.214.171.124 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
? 3.03.1 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
? 4.04.14.24.34.44.5 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
? 5.05.15.2 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
? 7.07.1 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
? 8.08.1 ? The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983. Royal Horticultural Society (1982-00-00)
? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? ? The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985. Royal Horticultural Society (1984-00-00)
? 12.012.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
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