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Crow’s Nest plants we love: Bottlebrush buckeye

August 4, 2020

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

The bottlebrush buckeye,¬†Aesculus parviflora, is attracting a lot of attention right now. And not just from the butterflies. People love seeing these “flying flowers” and bottlebrush buckeye is a great plant for attracting them.

Tiger and black swallowtail butterflies are all over the flowers, as well as a monarch in the photo above. The clusters of small flowers grow in bunches that give the plant its apt name. The small shrub pictured above has been there only a few years, but I gave it lots of space because I know how large they get. Below is the one that I planted a couple decades ago at the visitor center, next to the vegetable garden.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

To reliably attract butterflies you want to plant a variety of plant species with varied bloom times so that there are many continuous nectar sources, and also include native plants on which the larvae of these species can feed. Each of these plants may be beautiful but bottlebrush buckeye is a real show-stopper.