A family of trees or shrubs that have opposite, palmately compound leaves without stipules and large terminal panicles of showy, irregular flowers. The flowers have usually 5 sepals and 4 petals and a superior ovary that ripens to a large, thick-walled capsule containing 1 or 2 large, leathery, glossy, nut-like, inedible seeds. Flowers are zygomorphic, with a disc. Winter buds have big scales. There are 2 genera. Aesculus (deciduous), with 13 species, occurs in the northern temperate zone, and 2 species of Billia (evergreen) in tropical Central and S. America. A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut), is often grown for ornament. Aesculus also includes the buckeyes of N. America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.