Ohio History Journal

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In a pamphlet entitled "Ohio Emblems and Monuments"

compiled by the editor of the QUARTERLY in 1906 is an account

of the Ohio Buckeye which is here reproduced in adapted form.

It is somewhat singular, but true nevertheless, that the

average Ohioan is not able to point out with certainty the tree

whose name is the soubriquet of his state. In the popular de-

scriptions, fact and fancy, science and oratory are so promis-

cuously blended that there is nothing remarkable in the resulting


F. Andrew Michaux, the eminent French botanist who

visited this country in 1807, was somewhat unfortunate in his

description of the Ohio Buckeye, or pavia Ohioensis. He says:

"This species of the horse chestnut, which is mentioned by

no author that has hitherto treated of the trees and plants of

North America, is unknown in the Atlantic parts of the United

States. I have found it only beyond the mountains, and par-

ticularly on the banks of the Ohio for an interval of about 100

miles, between Pittsburgh and Marietta, where it is extremely

common. It is called "buckeye" by the inhabitants, but as this

name has been given to the pavia lutea, I have denominated it

"Ohio buckeye" because it is most abundant on the banks of this

river, and have prefixed the synonym of "American horse chest-

nut" because it proved to be a proper horse chestnut by its fruit,

which is prickly like that of the Asiatic species instead of that

of the paviae.

"The ordinary stature of the American horse chestnut is ten

or twelve feet, but it sometimes equals thirty or thirty-five feet

in height and twelve or fifteen inches in diameter. The leaves are

palmated and consist of five leaflets parting from a common

center, unequal in size, oval-acuminate and irregularly toothed.

The entire length of the leaf is nine or ten inches, and its breadth

six or eight inches.

"The bloom of this tree is brilliant. Its flowers appear early

in the spring and are collected in numerous white bunches. The

fruit is one of the same color with that of the common horse

chestnut and of the large buckeye, and of about half the size.

It is contained in fleshy, prickly capsules, and is ripe in the be-

ginning of autumn.