The Horse Chestnut is instantly recognisable by the combination of its hand-shaped compound leaf, its pinky-white flower spikes in the spring, and its spiny-shelled fruits in the autumn which contain the conkers.
The Horse Chestnut is a tall, broad tree that has been widely planted in parks and gardens. Originally native to the mountains of northern Greece and Albania, the Horse Chestnut was introduced into the UK in 1616 and has since become naturalised. In April and May, rows of Horse Chestnuts lining roads and in woodlands provide a spectacular display of ‘candles’ – large, upright flower spikes ranging in colour from white to deep pink. In autumn, it sheds its spiny-cased seeds, known as conkers, which are collected by children everywhere for conker competitions (attached to strings, two conkers are alternately flicked at each other until one breaks).
How to identify?