Tuesday, November 18, 2008

California Buckeye Nuts


Our native species of chestnut trees, Aesculus californica, are heavy with mature nuts right now. I've pictured them in flower before, and now you see the result of the butterfly's work. Their rinds split open to reveal the smooth brown nut that will soon fall to the ground. The longer they are exposed to light, the darker their brown color becomes. I think you can probably see how they got their name.

A wonderful book about many of the plants used by California Indians is The Natural World of the California Indians. They occasionally ate these nuts, but it was more difficult to leach the toxins from them than it was the oak acorns, so they were used only if a particular acorn crop failed to produce enough to eat.

23 comments:

Saretta said...

What a startling color combination! I don't envy the Indians all the trouble they had to go to with those nuts!

alaya said...

the first time for me to see this fruit

Babzy said...

I did 'know this nuts !Thanks for the link it's very interesting .

Abraham Lincoln said...

I had forgotten about leaching out the toxins.

Hilda said...

How does one leach toxins from plants? Interesting. And no, you don't have to answer that. Unless you already know the answer, that is.

Kym said...

Great minds. I'm planning on posting a buckeye pic today too. I was debating whether to post one almost exactly like this or one on the ground. Now I know to do the one on the ground.

Kelly said...

This is BEAUTIFUL! I love this shot!

Amy Wachspress said...

What a sexy plant, eh?

Jilly said...

So different to the conkers of Europe - the horse chestnuts I suppose. Such a lovely photograph and beautiful colour.

I remember when I was in Ohio this year that it's called the Buckeye State, so presumably that is yet again, another type of chestnut.

Bibi said...

Those are beautiful; never seen any before. You know, you could almost fool someone and say that's how pumpkins grow...the scale isn't so obvious in your photo, so... :<)

JM said...

I don't think I've seen this type of nut before. Good information about it too.

Eki Akhwan said...

THIS looks wonderful. How big are these nuts?

Note: I like nuts and have never seen this one before. It would be very nice if it's not toxic and easier to eat ... :(

bitingmidge said...

Lovely shot, and I've learned something to boot!

Sunshine Coast Daily - Australia

Ernie Branscomb said...

yes, very toxic. People have been sickened from eating the honey from the bees gathering nectar from their blossoms.

The Indians knew how to prepare them. They omly ate them when nothing else was available.

Kris said...

A couple of fine pairs of nuts you've got there, USelaine...

raf said...

Beautiful shot and interesting post, Elaine!

USelaine said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed this one. I actually went on a couple of buckeye safaris to find this group of trees to photograph. In those explorations, I ended up getting the shots of the bunchgrass, the frosty looking oak shot, the "sunwashed" valley, and the coyote brush. Since I don't go tramping in to private property, I finally found these high up on highway 20, nearly at the top of the watershed. To me they look like decorations for Christmas. With their casings on, they are about the size of tennis balls.

Amy, meet Kris. Kris, meet Amy.

Sorry to be running so late with my replies. I read and enjoy all your posts, and greatly appreciate your visits. Kym's blog, Redheaded Blackbelt, is linked in my blogroll, and I recommend her photography and writing highly. Like she said, she's got nuts too.

Petrea said...

A succulent close-up.

Dina said...

So THAT's how they look on the tree!
Your photo safari was very productive (and fun too, I'm sure).

Ming the Merciless said...

Oh wow! How cool is that?!?!

I've never seen one before.

jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jill said...

I never would have guessed they were the size of tennis balls. I'm a native born and bred 'Buckeye' (Go Bucks!) and the fruit of those are smaller than golf balls. We used them in autumn displays but were always told they were poisonous.

jill said...

Sorry, blogger had a problem and posted twice. And I meant 'seeds' not fruit.