The Horse Chestnut
Tree of the Week
Whether red or white is a non native tree – but at this time of the year it looks so splendid with its magnificent display of red or white flowering candelabras
The white horse chestnut Aesculus Hippocastanum is a native of the Balkans and was first introduced to this country by the Romans – however the red sub species wasn’t introduced until as late as 1850 and was a hybrid created in Germany
The Horse Chestnut can grow up to 40 m in height and live to 300 years old. Everyone knows their sticky buds, magnificent candle flowers and their jewel like fruits – conkers – encased in spiny green cases which fall off the trees in Autumn. Little commercial use is made of the horse chestnut – the wood is weak, but good to carve. The conkers however – not only delight youngsters – but contain a chemical called Triterpenoid that wards off clothes moths and other pests – place a few amongst your clothes and as they dry out they emit the moth repellent – no wonder I was attracted to this tree – with a shop full of wool and old Welsh textiles!!!