Aesculus indica which is also known as “Indian Horse-chestnut” is a large deciduous tree. It is native to Himalayas. It can grow up to a height of 30metres (100 feet) and spread to about by 12 meters (39 feet). It is a shady tree that has a straight trunk and the branches are in whorls. The trunk is about 1metre and the bark of this tree can be peeled out in narrow strips.
The shoots of this plant are minutely velvety and at maturity become hairless. The leaves are glossy and about seven leaflets arise from the same point of the reddish stalks. The leaves are ornamental and appear like tiny umbrellas. They are large and 10-20cm in length and 2-6 cm in width. The flowers are white in color. The flowers are pollinated by insects like bees and have 4-5 petals and are showy. The flower blooms from May to June. The fruit is about 2-5 cm in diameter and is in the form of a capsule. The fruit has 1-3 seeds per capsule.
The seeds are made like flour called Tatta wakher. The flour is mixed with chapattis and to make Halwa (a sweet). The leaves are used as cattle fodder. Medicinally, this is used to treat skin disease, rheumatism, as an astringent, acrid and narcotic and for relieving headaches.
Growing/Caring conditions for Aesculus:
• Plant the seeds in an area where the plant shall receive sunlight at least few hours every day.
• This plant can grow in full shade but direct sunlight is preferred.
• It is hardy to temperatures -15°C (5°F) and in USDA zones 7-9.
• The tree shall produce vibrant flowers and a full crown in direct sunlight.
• Mix the soil with compost in the planting area.
• The plant grows well in rich and loamy soils.
• Plant the seed in early spring.
• Water thoroughly after placing the seed and covering it with soil of thin layer.
• There should be no risk of frost.
• Seeds begin to germinate within few weeks of sowing.
• Water regularly for growth.
• Once the plant is established regular watering can be stopped.
• Maintain evenly moist soil
• Irrigate for moistening the soil to the roots.
• Add mulch to retain moisture.
• Fertilize the plant with water-soluble fertilizer each year.
• Prune the plant in late winter to remove the damaged, dead and effected branches.
• This plant can be affected by white-marked tussock moths and Japanese beetles so prevention should be done.