Indian Conkers

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This is the Indian Horse Chestnut, clearly distinguishable by its thin, smooth-skinned conker cases.   Best avoided if you’re planning a conker fight.

And don’t be tempted to eat them either.  Although some animals, deer and squirrels amongst them,  are quite partial to these seeds, they are poisonous to humans as they contain aesculin, which destroys red blood cells.  That said, In India, Indian horse chestnut seeds are ground into flour, steeped to get rid of the toxins, and used for flatbreads or porridges.

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Conkers apart, it is a majestic tree, with a rounded canopy shape, large glossy leaves and beautiful spiky flowers from May to July.

It can grow to about 30 m tall and spread to about 12 m wide. 

All of the photos in this post were taken in Kew Gardens in October 2013.

Linked to the Festival of Leaves.

6 thoughts on “Indian Conkers

  1. Thank you for putting information about humans not to eat them… I just found a great chestnut tree by my house in the woods and was about to try “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” .. Until I notices they did not have spines on the outer hull.. Your pictures showed the bare husk of the Indian Conkers and the warning humans not to eat them…..thank you for putting the warning out there !

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