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Family: Hippocastanaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Sapindales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • BUCKEYE FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Shrubs or small trees with opposite, palmately compound leaves; flowers bilaterally symmetrical, in showy panicles; seeds large, in a leathery capsule.


Notes: A very small (15 species in 2 genera) family of mainly n temperate trees and shrubs with some to n South America and se Asia; the family is best known for the ornamental, Aesculus hippocastanum L. (HORSE-CHESTNUT). The evergreen genus Billia has 2 species native from s Mexico to tropical South America. The Hippocastanaceae is closely related to the Sapindaceae and appears to represent a clade within that family. From a cladistic standpoint they should be lumped to form a more inclusive monophyletic Sapindaceae (Judd et al. 1994). Family name conserved from Hippocastanum, a genus now treated as Aesculus (the name Aesculus was published earlier and thus has priority in terms of nomenclature). (Greek: hippos, horse, and kastana, chestnut; also the Latin name for horse-chestnut) (subclass Rosidae)