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The yellow buckeye is a large deciduous shade tree. Susceptible to leaf scorch in full sun, it is best planted in an area with afternoon shade. Despite their showy flowers produced in upright clusters measuring up to 6 inches tall, they are most commonly known for their large mahogany-colored nuts, which historically were pocketed by mid-westerners as a lucky token. Our tree, believed to be a descendant of seeds collected by Washington, is a variety with red, rather than yellow, blooms.

Latin Name

Aesculus octandra var. virginicus



Type of Plant

Trees Trees

Bloom Season

April - May


Summer Summer


Max height Max Height: 75'
Max spread Max Spread: 50'


  • Shade Tree

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun


    Do not ingest Do not ingest


    Native Range

    Eastern United States


    According to historical accounts, in 1784 George Washington discovered a yellow buckeye tree with rose-colored flowers near what is now Morgantown, West Virginia. On April 13, 1785 he wrote in his diary "Planted & Sowed in boxes placed in front of the Green House the following things—Box No. 1 partition No. 1 Six buck eye nuts, brought with me from the Mouth of Cheat River; they were much dried & shrivelled—but had been steeped 24 hours in water". The seedlings were eventually planted around the grounds and shrubberies of Mount Vernon and several survived well into the 20th century. While our tree on the Bowling Green was not planted during Washington’s lifetime, it may be a descendant from one of the original trees. Charles S. Sargent, who was Director of Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum for over 50 years, and a long time advisor to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, was known to have replaced a number of Washington era trees with offspring of the originals.

    Other Details

    Pollinator Pollinator
    Grown by Washington Grown by Washington

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Bowling Green Fruit Garden & Nursery

  • Bowling Green
  • Fruit Garden & Nursery

  • Hardiness Zones

    4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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