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Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora

Bottlebrush Buckeye

Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, a member of the Aesculus genus is native to North America. This is one of the plants William Bartram found on his travels to the South in the 18th century. Descendants of the original specimens that Bartram brought to Bartram’s Garden continue to grow at that garden in Philadelphia, where I live.

I have been watching buckeyes throughout the year, and discovered many interesting facts about buckeyes. One of them is their production of fruits. Flowers are complete flowers - that is they contain both stigma and stamens. But only flowers which have long stigma can produce fruits, while flowers with stigma shorter than 5mm cannot. Amongst buckeyes, the bottlebrush buckeye has the longest panicles (groups of flowers). After the delicate white small petals fall in early summer, you can see a lot of young fruits with a tail of a long stigma on the flower stems. But during summer, these small fruits are almost gone and in autumn you see only a few fruits on a flower stem remaining. Fruits continue growing to the size of a child’s fist and the smooth skins burst revealing golden fruits.

I think losing young fruits may be its strategy to produce large fruits which have a strong ability to germinate in the following year. In this artwork, I wanted to show the story of productivity of bottlebrush buckeye. I still wonder how natural selection of young fruits works.


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Read more about this artist’s work: Out of the Woods

Worldwide-Tarver Keiko-Aesculus parviflora-2

Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush Buckeye

watercolor on paper

19-1/2 x 17

©2017 Keiko Tarver

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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