KINCAID LAKE STATE PARK

Spice Bush Trail

Buckeye Tree

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Description

Buckeyes are often small trees, with a spread nearly equal to their height. Ohio and yellow buckeyes are some of the larger species in this family, with heights of 50 feet or more. What makes buckeyes especially unique is their early spring flowers, which bloom as early as many woodland wildflowers. As well as greening up early, buckeyes also lose their leaves before most other trees in the fall.

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Aesculus glabra has little use as a timber tree due to its soft, light wood.[8] Although occasionally seen in cultivation, the large, copiously produced fruits make it generally undesirable as a street tree.[2] Extracts from A. glabra have shown anti-cancer properties.[11]

Native American ethnobotany
The Lenape carry the nuts in their pockets for rheumatism, and an infusion of ground nuts is mixed with sweet oil or mutton tallow for earaches. They also grind the nuts and use them to poison fish in streams.[12][13]

Native Americans blanched buckeye nuts, extracting the tannic acid for use in making leather.[citation needed] The nuts can also be dried, turning dark as they harden with exposure to the air, and strung into necklaces similar to those made from the kukui nut in Hawaii.[14]

Culture

A buckeye nut used in an early 20th-century ad, evoking the Seal of Ohio
The Ohio buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, and its name is an original term of endearment for the pioneers on the Ohio frontier. Subsequently, “buckeye” came to be used as the nickname and colloquial name for people from Ohio.[15] Ohio State University adopted “Buckeyes” officially as its nickname in 1950, and also uses the name for its sports teams.[16] It came to be applied to any student or graduate of the university.[17]

Buckeye candy, made to resemble the tree’s nut, is made by dipping a ball of peanut butter fudge in milk chocolate, leaving a circle of the peanut butter exposed.[18] These are a popular treat in Ohio, especially during the Christmas and college football seasons.[19][20]

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Narrated and Written By Bucky Field