The seed is rich in saponins, these 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 - soft, light, very close grained. Of no value as a lumber. The wood was used as friction sticks for making fire by the North American Indians.
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.
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Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy. Requires a position in full sun. Prefers dry sunny locations. Although fairly hardy throughout Britain, it grows best in areas where winter temperatures do not fall below -10°c. A moderately fast-growing and long-lived tree in the wild, in Britain it grows best in eastern and south-eastern England. Plants thrives at Kew. Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Aesculus californica.
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