Red horse chestnut tree

Ruby Horse Chestnut Tree

Ruby Horse Chestnut tree is a particularly choice clone of a hybrid horse chestnut, resulting from a cross between the European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) with white flowers and an eastern North American native (the shrubby Aesculus pavia) with red ones. It is a better landscape plant than either of its parents and should be planted more widely. ‘Briotii’ originated in 1858 from seed grown at the Trianon in France.

Description of ruby horse chestnut tree: The ruby horse chestnut is a medium to large tree, reaching from 40 to 60 feet in height at maturity. It has gray-green bark and dark, palmately compound, deciduous leaves, which are dark green above and silvery below. Its foliage turns bright yellow in fall. Upright panicles of deep rose flowers, nearly red, appear in the spring. These are followed by gray-green fruit, each bearing two large seeds.


Growing ruby horse chestnut tree: The ruby horse chestnut is a tough, easy-to-grow tree. It thrives in just about any soil that is not waterlogged. The plant prefers full sun but will tolerate considerable shade.

Uses for ruby horse chestnut tree: This variety is much less susceptible to disease than the more common horse chestnuts. It makes a good street tree and provides ample shade.

Related species of rubyhorse chestnut tree: The European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is the most widely planted of the horse chestnuts. Unfortunately, it is more susceptible to disease.

Related varieties of ruby horse chestnut tree: The variety Aesculus x carnea ‘Plantierensis’ is similar but with paler pink flowers. The plant is sterile–bearing no fruit–which makes it the preferred choice where fruit drop is undesirable.

Scientific name of ruby horse chestnut tree: Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’

Want more information on trees and gardening? Try:

  • Shade Trees: Towering overhead, shade trees can complement even the biggest house, and define the amount of sunlight that reaches your yard.
  • Flowering Trees: Many trees offer seasonal blooms that will delight any visitor your yard or garden.
  • Types of Trees: Looking for fresh ideas about what to plant? Find out about different species that can turn your yard into a verdant oasis.
  • Gardening: Get great tips about how to keep your garden healthy and thriving.

Horse Chestnut trees (Aesculus Hippocastanums) are currently shedding their smooth, shiny conkers (much to the children’s delight!).

But have you ever wondered why this grand tree, which provides us with not only aesthetic pleasure but hands-on, childhood fun, is named after an equally grand animal?

There are said to be two age-old reasons that link the Aesculus Hippocastanum to horses and they both date back to when the tree first came to the UK in the late 16th century from Turkey…

1. The shape of the leaves’ stalks…

When the leaves of the Aesculus Hippocastanum fall, the stalk breaks away from the twig it was attached too.

As they detach, the stalk leaves a scar on the twig which is said to perfectly resemble the shape of a horseshoe. The scar is even complete with nail holes!

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2. To cure horses…

Back in the days before modern veterinary medicines, conkers used to be ground and fed to horses to relieve them of coughs. Crushing the conkers releases certain medicinal chemicals which are beneficial for horses but, for other smaller animals, are actually poisonous.

So, there you have it, a short, sweet and nutty fact for the day. The next time you walk past a proud Horse Chestnut, you’ll know a little bit more about it’s rich history.

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Aesculus Carnea Briotii Red Horse Chestnut

Available Sizes to buy online All Prices Include VAT Height Excluding Pot:
2.5-3m (8ft 2-9ft 10)

Plant shape: Full standard

Trunk height: 1.8 m

Trunk girth: 8-10 cm

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Aesculus Carnea Briotti or Red Horse Chestnut Briotti
Aesculus Carnea Briotti, a variety of Red Horse Chestnut, is a large, round-headed, deciduous flowering tree. Treasured for its dark red blossoms, this cultivar is recommended for large gardens only, where it can serve as a specimen tree.

The leaves of Red Horse Chestnut Briotti consists of 5 to 7 leaflets each, glossy and dark green. Creating a dense, lush canopy, the foliage of this tree retains its green colour until it drops with first frosts. The most noteworthy quality of the cultivar, however, are its showy blossom. Produced in profusion, the crimson blossoms are borne in large, upright panicles. The flowers are followed by husky, slightly spiny capsules that contain nuts.

Easily grown, Red Horse Chestnut Briotti is particular only when it comes to the space it needs to fully develop. This impressive tree will thrive in any moist, fertile, well-drained soil, both in full sun and partial shade. Rarely affected by any serious pests and diseases. First bred 1858, in a nursery in France, Aesculus Carnea Briotti is fully hardy in the United Kingdom. This chestnut tree can adapt even to the severest European climates, and will not mind even if the temperatures lower than 20 degrees below zero.

One of the most distinctive traits of this variety is its imposing size. Long-lived, Red Horse Chestnut Briotti can grow to be up to 30 metres high, with a spread over 20 metres. Its large, dense, rounded crown makes it a good choice for a shade tree. Maintaining a tree of this size is not always easy, but this variety is thoroughly undemanding. Light pruning is all it takes to keep its stately, columnar habit in perfect shape. To prevent any diseases and maintain the tree’s health, routinely remove any dead or damaged growth.

Large, attractive and sturdy – these qualities make Aesculus Carnea Briotti a perfect choice for decorating a large lawn or adding a shade tree to a big garden. Offering interest throughout the seasons, with a stunning spring bloom, this deciduous cultivar can become a timeless beauty in any landscape. Complement it with shade-loving shrubs suitable for underplanting, such as Rhododendron Wine and Roses, Heuchera Micrantha Palace Purple, or Callicarpa Bodinieri Profusion.

Make sure to take a look at our selection of large and mature trees, ideal for spacious gardens and landscapes. If you are interested in deciduous cultivars with ornamental and architectural value, check out our collection of deciduous trees.

FREQUENTLY BOUGHT WITH >>Aesculus Hippocastanum BaumanniiAesculus Hippocastanum Horse Chestnut TreeAcer Pseudoplatanus BrilliantissimumCornus Controversa Variegata (Wedding Cake Tree)

The Red Horse Chestnut Tree

Spring passes by so quickly. Only a little while ago I was looking out at the March ice and wistfully writing about the redbud tree, fervently wishing it would finally awaken in crimson blooms. Now most of the glorious trees of spring have bloomed and their flowers have already fallen. The cherry blossoms have come and gone. Summer is on its way with its roses, lilies, and foxgloves, but the trees have largely finished their majestic yearly display. However “largely” does not mean entirely. Walking around my neighborhood this week I have noticed many beautiful shade trees covered with fountaining red blossoms. Since New York City has been busily planting new specimens of every sort of tree, quite a few of these pretty mystery trees are still wearing plastic labels from the nursery (sometimes it is easy to practice dendrology in the city!). It turns out this lovely tree goes by the unlovely common name “red horse chestnut.”

A Red Horse Chestnut Tree (Aseculus x carnea) in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

The red horse chestnut tree is not a chestnut tree at all: its name is due to the fact that the horse chestnuts and buckeyes (which comprise the Aesculus family) were once erroneously believed to be related to true chestnuts. The name Aesculus means “edible nuts”, but this name too is a misnomer: the nuts are slightly poisonous, containing alkaloid saponins and glucosides. In fact the red horse chestnut tree I noticed on my way to work this morning isn’t even a naturally occurring species of tree. It is a cultivar between Aesculus hippocastanum, the common horse chestnut tree of Europe, and Aesculus pavia, the red buckeye or firecracker plant—a showy native shrub of the American south.

A Horse Chestnut Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)

The Germans have long been fans of Aesculus pavia, the common horse chestnut tree, a large beautiful tree with spreading boughs and big white blossoms which appear in late spring. In Bavaria the horse chestnut tree was planted above the underground storage caves and cellars where lagers were stored. Brewers and beer enthusiasts once cut ice from ponds and rivers and kept it in these insulated shaded cells to cool the beer during summer (in fact lager means storage in German). It is believed that Germans first hybridized their mighty horse chestnuts with the ornamental American buckeye shrubs to obtain a cultivar with the best aspects of both–presumably so the beer gardens would be even more pleasant in May thus making lager drinking even more delightful. The first red horse chestnut trees seem to have appeared in Germany around 1820.

The Bavarian Beergarden (Otto Piltz, 1875)

Whatever the case, the red horse chestnut trees in my new neighborhood are certainly very beautiful right now. I hope you have noticed that this miniature essay about horse chestnuts is really an elegy to this year’s fading spring. It was a very lovely season and you only get to enjoy four score or so springs in your life (give or take a few dozen). It is the merry month of May and summer is coming. Now it is time to go outside and sit beneath the horse chestnut trees of your garden and enjoy life with your friends and family.

Genieße das Leben ständig!
Du bist länger tot als lebendig!

(Constantly enjoy life!
You’re longer dead than alive!)

Flowers of the Red Horsechestnut Tree

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