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.