Yesterday afternoon right before dusk I was walking along the edge of the woods on the ridge behind my house and came across a red buckeye - one of the early heralds of autumn around these parts. The red buckeye is a small deciduous tree or shrub native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States. During springtime, it’s one of the early bloomers with vivid scarlet spikes of showy blooms. It is also one of the first plants in northeastern Mississippi to transform its leaves into golden yellow hues. The red buckeye is now putting on its colorful show throughout the hills and hollows of Itawamba County.
The plant’s nut, although not edible, has been considered a good luck charm in the hills of northeastern Mississippi for generations. During the olden times, it was quite common for folks to carry a buckeye nut in their pants pocket as a lucky piece and also as a preventative for all types of ailments.