A couple of my readers wanted more information so here you are.
And a closeup of a flower (from 2015).
In the fall, the tree produces inedible nuts that children love to play games with. One game, in particular, conkers, stretches back hundreds of years. There's an entire tradition in Great Britain built around preparing and playing with your horse chestnut nut (conker). My spouse played a variation of this game growing up near New York City.
What a lot of history rolled into one majestic tree.
But, 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 the fish.
A couple of my readers wanted to know why they were called "horse chestnuts".
The nuts are edible for horses (and deer); perhaps that is why. 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.
Perhaps the cell phone-addicted children of today will grow up, and appreciate the majestic splendor of this tree. But enjoy them fast.
In a day or two, these flowers will be gone for another year.
Do you have horse chestnuts where you live?
Join Parul Thakur and other bloggers who love trees for #ThursdayTreeLove.