Red buckeyes are smalled-sized trees with upright crowns of foliage. Native to the southeastern United States, they grow to between 15 and 25 feet in height when mature. In the spring, they bloom with tropical-looking red flowers, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to the park.
When the flowers shed, they give way to seed pods that are poisonous to humans and most animals. Native Americans used crushed buckeye seeds and roots to stun fish so they could more easily catch them. Despite this danger, the trees are easy to care for and generate plentiful shade in the summer. It’s light brown, flaky bark and coarse add appealing interest to what can otherwise be a dull winter landscape. Red buckeyes are one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring, with dark palm-like leaves. Like their seeds, Red buckeye leaves are toxic, defending them against hungry animals searching for the first spring leaves.