Also known as either the red buckeye or firecracker plant, the scarlet buckeye is from the horse-chestnut family of plants. Botanically, it is known as Aesculus pavia. It is a native plant of the United States.
Scarlet Buckeye Description
This perennial grows 10 to 40 feet high, with dark green glossy leaves and flowers in clusters. It can be a small tree or moderate shrub, depending on pruning habits. Leaves are fine-toothed and have a white underside. Flowers are deep red or yellow. Bloom season is between March and May. At the end of the summer, it will drop its leaves.
This native prefers to grow in partial shade and a moist acidic or neutral soil. Soil should be deep and well-drained. It doesn’t like over watering, which can lead to leaf spot disease. Propagate by seeds or root cuttings. Seed can be sown untreated.
This plant is found throughout the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Typically it is in the thickets, woods, or along streams.
Scarlet Buckeye Warnings
The young shoots and the seeds are poisonous if ingested. The degree of toxicity will depend on how much is ingested and the size and health of the person ingesting it.
The bark has been used since early Pioneer days to make many different home remedies. However, the bark is very bitter.
Powdered seeds and branches that were crushed were thrown by Native Americans into water to stupefy fish, making them easier to catch. The wood can make a black dye. Gummy roots of the scarlet buckeye can make a soap substitute.
The scarlet buckeye has a great showy display of flowers and a nice spring-time plant. Put in a location where the spring display will be prominent and not lost to other plants.