Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

The horse chestnut plants ( Hippocastanoideae ) are a subfamily in the plant family of Soapberry ( Sapindaceae ). It contains four genera with about 130 species. There are woody plants with distribution focus in the northern temperate regions.


The representatives of the horse chestnut plants are woody plants: they grow as trees or shrubs. The constantly against arranged on the branches leaves are simple or compound.

The flowers are four - or fünfzählig. Most three (two to six) carpels are fused into an ovary. There are capsule fruits with few seeds or samaras (see picture of sycamore maple ) is formed.


The genera of the subfamily horse chestnut plants were asked ( Hippocastanaceae ) earlier in families of their own maple family ( Aceraceae ) and chestnut plants. The classification into the family of Soapberry ( Sapindaceae ) and the delineation of subfamilies is controversial. Handeliodendron together with Aesculus and Billia a monophyletic group.

The four subfamilies of Soapberry ( Sapindaceae ) are distinguished by the construction of the ovary; the Sapindoideae have just one single ovule, while the Hippocastanoideae two ovules per ovary compartment ( corresponds to a carpel ) have.

The subfamily of Hippocastanoideae contains four genera with about 130 species. By far the most species-rich genus are the maples ( Acer) with about 110 species. Here the species list (by GRIN):

  • Maples ( Acer L.): The approximately 110 species, depending on the author and up to 200 species are widely distributed in the northern hemisphere.
  • Horse Chestnut (Aesculus L.): Of the twelve species most come in North America, some species are common in Asia and only one species is native to southeastern Europe.
  • Billia Peyr. , The only two species are distributed from southern Mexico to Ecuador.
  • Dipteronien ( Dipteronia Oliv. ): The only two species are native to China.
  • Handeliodendron Rehder: it contains only one type: Handeliodendron bodinieri ( H.Lév. ) Rehder: It thrives only in tropical karst at altitudes between 500 and 1200 meters only in the Chinese provinces of northwestern Guangxi and southern Guizhou.


  • Description of Hippocastanoideae in the description of the family Sapindaceae in the APWebsite. ( Section systematics and description)

Single References