Portrait of a Buckeye

Hands down one of the most captivating shrubs to watch unfurl in spring is the buckeye. From the big fat terminal bud to complete leaf out followed by bloom time, it is fascinating to watch.

In early spring the bud breaks open and slowly the contents begins to emerge.

The leaves gently cradle the bloom as a mother would her newborn.

Then ever so gracefully the leaves release the blossom and stretch themselves out.

As they gradually pull away, they spread far and wide.

The new leaves take in the sun and bring a new energy to the plant.

The blooms of the Red Buckeye stand upright waiting for the arrival of the ruby-throated hummingbirds while the Painted Buckeye calls out to the early bees and butterflies.

We have two varieties of buckeye growing in our garden, Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) which is native to our area in the Georgia Piedmont and Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) which is native to the upper and lower coastal plain. Both varieties feel most at home at the edge of our beech/oak woods and in a clearing where they receive dappled sunlight. Here they grow alongside devil's walking stick, sumac, and elderberry shrubs.


  1. I've never noticed the unfurling of these leaves before in spring. Very pretty! And dramatic!

  2. Gorgeous pictures - I love the springtime unfurling of new leaves. They are every bit as beautiful as flowers to me. Thank you for helping others to see that beauty too.

  3. Karin your photos are so stunning of this shrub....and I looked up Buckeye to see if they are native to NY...some are so I added them to my list of possible shrubs to add to the garden...

  4. This is really a fantastic and informative post specially for me who is not familiar with this plant. But your description and the wonderful photos led me to the next step, which is really fascinating. And your photos are trully fantastic, and yes the plants are naturally beautiful specially at those stages of growth and development.

  5. I always like seeing them bloom in the fields at the tree farm. They have such a pretty progression to bloom as you have shown.

  6. What a beautiful unfurling! It reminds me of the flowering process of the Shagbark Hickory. I remember Buckeyes from my early childhood in Indiana. I do believe those were Ohio Buckeyes (Aesculus glabra), which have similar blooms. You bring back memories. :)

  7. How beautiful! This is one shrub I admired in a local garden and have been interested in ever since. Seeing your pictures make me even more determined to get one.


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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

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