2009 Campus Tree of the Year

The Jesuit Garden Horsechestnuts

Aesculus hippocastanum

Horsechestnut is a tree that, while common in the eastern part of the country, is not widely used in today’s landscape industry.  We are fortunate to have four mature specimens on our campus, just north of Creighton Hall in the Jesuit Gardens.  These trees have been present for most of the University’s history and can be seen as young trees in Commencement photos from the 1920’s.  

One particularly famous Horsechestnut is the Anne Frank Tree in Amsterdam, estimated to be more than 150 years old.  It can be seen from the attic of The Annexe, where she and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II, and is mentioned many times in her famous diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl”.

Horsechestnut is native to the mountainous regions of northern Greece and Albania.  Flowering in early to mid May, it boasts panicles of flowers that can be 12” long.  Creighton’s Horsechestnuts are likely the variety ‘Baumannii’, a sterile and thus fruitless selection that grows 40-50’ high and about half as broad.  Foliar diseases are common and include powdery mildew, leaf blotch, and scorch.