One of my favorites trees in our yard is the Dwarf Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia). Why the Latin name? Well, I took 4 years of Latin in high school—shout out to Walnut Hills High School)—and I’m also trying to learn the botanical name of plants. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Anyway, this tree is my favorite for two reasons:
- It is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring.
- Hummingbirds and pollinators love it.
Two great reasons, right? When it blooms, I know spring is sticking around. Although this past winter wasn’t too bad, there are times it seems like the cold, snow, and gray days will never end. In those years, I keep a close eye on this Buckeye tree to keep my spirits up!
Also, the first hummingbird I spot each year is always at the Dwarf Buckeye. I’m guessing it’s a combination of its brilliant red flowers and trumpet-like shape. Must be like a siren song for the hummingbirds. But I’ve also caught the bees checking it out, most likely because it’s one of the first bloomers in the spring.
Back to Latin
If I’m learning this, you’re learning it right along with me. So, let’s jump into the Latin. I guess there is a method to the botanical madness.
- Aesculus: Latin name for Horsechestnut
- pavia: Named for Peter Paaw (aka Petrus Pavius), early 17th century Dutch botanist
I’m now having flash backs to Latin exams, so we’ll leave it there for now.
Funny memory. We had a Buckeye tree (Ohio buckeye) in the yard where I grew up. One fall, I decided to harvest some buckeyes, put them in a Dixie bathroom cup, spray paint them gold or silver, and give them to my mom as gifts. No doubt she loved them, ha ha.