Buckeye is a tree native to the coast range of California
, as well as other areas of North America. The California version of this tree is known for losing its leaves in June
and regaining them in late Winter. This makes this tree supremely adapted to the summer drought of the area. During the period when this tree is without leaves, its white bark contrasts sharply to the cloudy skies, sketching a dramatic picture on the landscape. This tree has huge seed
s, almost the size of tennis balls, which hang limply from the branches after the leaves have dropped off.
In the spring the tree is covered in vibrant white flowers which are frequented by many species of butterflies. In summer, these trees begin losing their leaves, and turn bright orange long before any other trees begin changing color. During the fall, these trees are bare, but during the late winter they burst forth with lush compound leaves. Also, any seeds found on the ground often are seen to be sending out large roots into the soil. This tree prefers moist, cool north-facing areas, and is abundant in both the Coast Range and the Sierra Foothills of California.
The seeds contain high amounts of tannin; although they may be edible after being boiled in many changes of water, they are generally quite astringent. In fact, the Native Americans would sometimes use a derivitive of these seeds to stun fish so they could be retrieved from streams.