Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Elder buds are starting to burst - have you seen any news leaves yet this year?

Horse chestnut. Niall Benviehorse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum


Why not download our horse
chestnut fact sheet?

horse chestnut fact sheet  

  • A stout tree up to 30 metres tall, with a huge domed canopy and grey-brown, fairly flakey bark

  • Distinctive leaves, with five or more long leaflets

  • Large red-brown sticky budsHorse chestnut flowers. Rosanna Ballentine

  • Clusters of white/pink flowers (not pink/red - that's a different species) that make it look like a huge candelabra

  • The big mahogany-brown conkers burst from a green spiky fruit (smooth cases tend to be the pink/red flowered species

  • Leaves turn from orange to scarlet in autumn
Where foundConker. Rosey Norton

  • Common in parks, gardens, streets and village greens
  • It was introduced from Turkey in the late 16th century and widely planted here

When to look for

Leaf miner and bleeding canker - should I record my sick horse chestnut?

Fabulous horse chestnut facts

  • The sticky sap on horse chestnut buds protects them from frost damage and insects

  • Horse chestnut conkers are slightly poisonous to most animals, causing sickness if eaten

  • The annual world conker championship has been held in the village of Ashton, Northants, since 1965

  • 'Conker' is derived from the word conch, and the childrens game was originally played with snail shells