|This tree towers over a two story house|
What are horse chestnuts, exactly?
They are not native to our country, but rather, to the Balkins. They were introduced into Great Britain in the 1600's.
One thing they are not is edible - in fact, the entire plant, including its chestnuts (in Europe, they are called "conkers") are mildly poisonous.
Native Americans would make a mash of the nuts and use it to stun fish. They would then have to get rid of the toxins in the fish but it was an effective way to kill fish.
The nuts are edible for horses (and deer); perhaps why they are called "horse chestnuts". Their scientific name is Aesculus (with about 15 species - I don't know which one I took a picture of but I suspect it is hippocastanum). The trees have an interesting history.
As for conkers, my spouse, growing up near New York City, would play that game. It was a favorite game at one time in Great Britain. Now, alas, children entertain themselves in other ways.
But maybe the cell phone-addicted children of today will grow up, and appreciate the majestic splendor of this tree. I was surprised to learn that the population of these trees, at least in Great Britain, is declining.
And in another couple of days, in our hot weather, these flowers will be gone for another year.
Do you have horse chestnuts where you live?