Horse Chestnut Trees (Aesculus)

The unmistakable ‘Conker’ Tree the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and the Red Horse Chestnut (Aesculus x carnea Briotti). Hippocastanum is a very large tree, which bears conkers and produces candle like white flowers in the spring. Widely planted across the British Isles this tree still survives however is under attack. In recent years, horse chestnut has suffered from a number of diseases, including the leaf minor, which isn’t fatal, and horse chestnut scale, whereas, bleeding canker kills around 15% of the trees it infects.

It is hoped that the Horse Chestnut trees will develop some resistance to disease and will once again be planted, as it is now very rarely specified.

Alternatively, some cultivars of Aesculus hippocastanum such as “Briotti” which bears the same large candle like flowers but this time a pinky red colour, seems to be very resistance to disease and is often suggested as an alternative. A Hybrid of Aesculus hippocastanum and Aesculus pavia, Briotti is a smaller tree with a more rounded head that will fit in to some gardens that its parent may not.

Here at King and Co, we decided some years ago to offer Briotti as the only horse chestnut available to buy. When the parent tree has developed some resistance to bleeding canker we hope to reintroduce to our range.