Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ohio Buckeye

Last week George brought me home a surprise he found at the tennis courts...Ohio buckeyes (Aesculus glabra).  I was intrigued by the golden spiny orbs and learned that this distinguishes it from its more common relative, the yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava) which has smooth fruit. 

Although almost every part of the buckeye is poisonous, the beautiful seeds are reputed to be good luck when carried in your pocket and were also supposed to help ease rheumatism.  Native Americans used to boil the tannins out and grind them into a starchy paste to eat.  The nuts were also used "to remove mildew stains from linen and a flour made from buckeyes made an insect-proof paste of great tenacity much preferred by bookbinders." (source here). 

Whenever I find a buckeye I feel like I have found a treasure.  There is nothing quite like breaking open the "ugly" outer coating to find the smooth, mahogany prize inside. I plan on planting these seeds in the backyard and will hopefully one day be rich with buckeyes.

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