Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wildflower Wednesday: Bottlebrush Buckeye

The Aesculus parviflora shrub adorns long wands that resemble a bottle brush and are one of my favorite flowers of summer. Our oldest shrub grows in a semi shaded area near the path that runs along the side of the house, where it gets a hint of midday sunshine.

Southern Meadows
Bottlebrush buckeye shrub near walking path 
Typically an understory shrub, the long flower clusters are unforgettable and create a showstopper in a woodland setting. It works as a specimen plant or as a shrub border.

Southern Meadows
Flower wands attract native pollinators
Native to the southeastern states of Alabama, Georgia and northern Florida, it prefers rich loamy soil often found in woodland areas. The shrub will sucker and spread twice as wide as tall when happy. No pruning is required.

I'm not the only one who loves this plant. Pollinators dance through the long wands known as panicles.

Southern Meadows

Southern Meadows

Butterflies cover the spires that bloom in late June to July.

Southern Meadows

The white tubular trumpets that house the red anthers and pink filaments are also visited by diurnal moths,

Southern Meadows
Clear wing hummingbird moth
and numerous native bees and wasps.

As a result of their pollination services, the plant grows pear shaped nuts in early autumn. The orange nuts are encased in a husk that splits open to reveal gorgeous 'buckeyes'. Squirrels and chipmunks feast on these protein rich nuts. They don't last long in our garden.

Buckeyes: orange nuts
Also in fall the bottlebrush buckeye wear golden foliage that compliment the oak and maple leaves of the tree canopy.

golden foliage in fall
Although bottlebrush buckeye technically isn't a wildflower, it is an outstanding native wildlife shrub and pollinator flower. I'm joining our host Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.