Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a frequently planted shade tree and ornamental found worldwide. A. hippocastanum produces beautiful clusters of white flowers in early mid-May. It's distinctive, compound leaves and appear as long green catkins which have a strong odor. In the fall, A. hippocastanum leaves turn bright yellow, gold and brown before they fall from the tree for the winter. The fruit produced are horse chestnuts--which are covered with a brown husk and hair-like spines which remain until the fruit ripens and splits open.
A. hippocastanum seeds and twigs contain aescin, a complex mixture of saponins, which can be toxic to poultry if ingested.
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