The leaves of the Common Horse Chestnut are palmately compound with 7 obovate to ovate leaflets that are 4″ to 10″ long. The middle leaflet is almost always the longest, and they progressively get shorter the closer it gets to the petiole. The margins are doubly serrated, and the venation is pinnate. They are a light green in spring, dark green in summer, and turn yellow and brown in the fall. The leaf arrangement is opposite (leaf stems always branch off the stem opposite from another leaf stem).
Twig and Bud Identification
The twigs of the Common Horse Chestnut are brownish-gray and have raised lenticels (pores). The buds are large, shiny, and reddish-brown.
The Common Horse Chestnut’s bark is grayish-brown to black broken into scaly plates.
The fruit of the Common Horse Chestnut is a shiny, dark brown nut with a tan scar. It is surrounded by very spiny and leathery husk. They ripen in the fall.
The flowers of the Common Horse Chestnut are upright terminal panicles. They bloom in mid spring. They are white with red or yellow markings.