One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A deciduous tree with large leaves of five leaflets, conspicuous sticky winter buds, and upright conical clusters of white, pink, or red flowers. Unrelated to true chestnuts, the horse chestnut bears unpalatable nuts enclosed in fleshy, thorny husks.
Genus Aesculus, family Hippocastanaceae: several species, in particular A. hippocastanum, native east of the Balkans and widely planted over much of Europe and North America
- ‘Staff at Kennet had already been alerted to the imminent removal of a large horse chestnut tree beside the staff car park, which is said to be diseased and unsafe.’
- ‘Many trees, such as lime, sycamore, horse chestnut and willow provide excellent bee forage.’
- ‘Along the trail, visitors can enjoy specimens such as the Indian horse chestnut, dawn redwood, autumn oaks and oriental hawthorns.’
- ‘They are all native species such as oak, horse chestnut and flowering cherry and have replaced those lost over the past few years, including one that was hit by a car and another that was blown down in the January gales.’
- ‘Extracts from garlic, horse chestnut, lavender, ragwort, rosemary, plantain and the liverwort Marchantia were all unpalatable.’
- 1.1 The fruit or seed of the horse chestnut tree.
- ‘Depicting a horse chestnut, the sculpture symbolizes the fruits of a rural community and its potential for growth, energy and community.’
- ‘The horse chestnuts are not closely related to true chestnuts or chinquapins, and the resemblance of their fruits is coincidental.’
Late 16th century: translating (now obsolete) botanical Latin Castanea equina; its fruit is said to have been an Eastern remedy for chest diseases in horses.
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