The Outstanding Ohio Buckeye
The outstanding Ohio Buckeye is found in woodlands across Ohio, but is more common in western Ohio. It prefers to grow in the understory where it is shady and cool. Here the Ohio buckeye can grow to 40 feet in height. But when the Ohio Buckeye tree grows in the open, it can reach as tall as 60 feet!
The leaves of the Ohio Buckeye are palmately compound. This means that they have small leaflets in a single leaf and they are palmate in shape, or shaped like the palm of your hand. The whole leaf is made up of 5 leaflets measuring about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. This makes the entire compound leaf of the Ohio buckeye about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide.
The gray-brown bark of the Ohio Buckeye is rough. As the tree gets older, the bark turns darker and it develops deep furrows that break into sections that look like long scales. The bark of the Ohio Buckeye produces a yellow dye that has been used in tanning leather.
The Ohio Buckeye has wood that is fine grained and soft. This wood was commonly used for making small items such as bowls, ornaments and small boxes. The wood of the Ohio Buckeye was even used for making artificial limbs and inexpensive furniture.
The Ohio Buckeye Flower looks like an upright spray of little greenish-white flowers. Another name for the Ohio Buckeye is the Stinking Buckeye, which comes from the smell of the flower which has a bad smell.
The fruit of the Ohio Buckeye comes in a pod that is about 2 inches across. This pod is yellow-brown in color and is covered with short, sharp spines. The fruit itself is a smooth, round nut that is deep brownish red in color with a small cream color spot on it. The actual buckeye has been considered an object of good luck when carried around in your pocket.
The name Buckeye was reported to have been given to this type by the Native Americans who called the fruit “hetuck,” which means “eye of a buck”. When Ohio was first being settled, a botanist found this buckeye along the Ohio River and called it the Ohio Buckeye.
The Ohio Buckeye really is outstanding, isn’t it?