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Indian Horse Chestnut

Aesculus indica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Sapindaceae (Maple)
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
35 metres tall
Parks, roadsides, woodland.

White, 5 petals
The flowers are white, spotted yellow and tinged pink. Pollinated by bees.
Conkers. The nutcases are without any spines. The seeds ripen in October.
Large, glossy, palmate leaves, up to 20cm in length. The similar looking Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) has broader leaflets. Indian Horse Chestnut does not have sticky buds whereas Horse Chestnut has got sticky buds.
Other Names:
Himalayan Horse Chestnut, Soapnut Tree.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Aesculus indica, also known as the Indian horse chestnut or the soapnut tree, is a species of flowering tree in the soapberry family. It is native to the Himalayan region of Asia and is widely cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions around the world. It grows to a height of about 20-30 meters and has large, palmately compound leaves with 5-7 leaflets. The tree produces clusters of large, showy white or pink flowers in the spring and has a distinctive, spiny fruit capsule that contains a nut-like seed. The seeds of the tree are toxic and should not be ingested, but the fruit and leaves are used medicinally to treat a variety of ailments.


Indian Horse Chestnut, also known as Aesculus indica, is a species of tree native to the western Himalayas in India. It is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 35 meters tall and is known for its large, white or pink flowers that bloom in the spring. The tree is also prized for its large, shiny, dark-green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.

The Indian Horse Chestnut tree is a popular ornamental tree, used in parks and gardens for its attractive appearance and large, showy flowers. It is also used for its medicinal properties, with the seeds and leaves being used to treat a range of conditions, including rheumatism, skin diseases, and urinary disorders. The tree's bark is also used as a remedy for fever, while the leaves are used to treat snakebite.

One of the key benefits of the Indian Horse Chestnut tree is its ability to provide shade and shelter, making it an ideal tree for parks, gardens, and other outdoor spaces. The tree's large, dense canopy provides ample shade during the summer months, making it a popular choice for outdoor gatherings and picnics.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, the Indian Horse Chestnut tree also has environmental benefits. The tree is a valuable source of food for wildlife, including birds and squirrels, and its roots help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

When planting Indian Horse Chestnut trees, it is important to choose a suitable location with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. The tree requires regular watering and pruning to maintain its shape and health, and it may also require protection from strong winds and frost during the winter months.

The Indian Horse Chestnut is a versatile and attractive tree with a range of benefits, both ornamental and practical. Whether used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens, or for its medicinal properties, this tree is a valuable addition to any landscape.

The Indian Horse Chestnut tree is also known for its therapeutic properties for horses, which is where it gets its common name from. The tree's seeds contain a compound called aescin, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. For this reason, the seeds are often ground into a powder and used as a supplement for horses with conditions such as arthritis and lameness.

Another important aspect of the Indian Horse Chestnut tree is its role in traditional medicine. The tree's bark, leaves, and seeds have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, and it is considered one of the most important medicinal trees in India. The leaves and seeds of the tree are believed to have antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, making them a valuable remedy for a range of health conditions.

It's also worth noting that the Indian Horse Chestnut tree is considered an invasive species in some parts of the world, particularly in North America. This is because the tree has the ability to spread quickly and displace native vegetation, making it a threat to local ecosystems. For this reason, it is important to be careful when planting Indian Horse Chestnut trees and to consider the potential impact on the local environment.

In conclusion, the Indian Horse Chestnut tree is a valuable species that has a range of benefits and uses, from ornamental and medicinal to environmental and therapeutic. Whether planting one in your own garden or admiring one in a park, it is a beautiful and versatile tree that is well worth learning more about.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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