Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Red Horse chestnut

It's been a busy week gardening and field work, and neither is very conducive to blogging. Still the FFF must be honored even a day late.  Here's an image of a new addition to our university's quad, a red horse chestnut, rather one with red flowers. The horse chestnut is a pretty spectacular tree in flower, massive flowering, huge display of big conical inflorescences, all at once, a so-called "big bang" flowering, but the flowers are white although with bits of color up close. This ornamental is not a mutant; it's a hybrid called Aesculus x carnea. So not a true horse chestnut at all although that is one of the parents, the other being the quite handsome small red buckeye that TPP has featured on FFF before. This tree has good cold hardiness for having a southern parent and is more of a tree, less of a shrub.  As a taxonomic note buckeyes used to be in their own family, but now molecular data has placed them in the soapberry family, one not very familiar sailing in the N. temperate zone, but that's still better than the old stand alone family that told us nothing except they weren't real chestnuts at all.  Sigh, one more genus to refile in the herbarium.  

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