Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Red Buckeye: One of the First Signs of Autumn

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.


Anonymous said...

This may be a dumb question since you tell that this buck eye tree is found in the southeastern states, but is this the same buck eye found in Ohio and is where their motto, "Buckeye state" comes from? bettye

Bob Franks said...

I think they may be cousins Bettye. There's the Ohio Buckeye (sometimes called American Buckeye) and then there's the Red Buckeye of the southeastern United States. The ones around here are more like big shrubs rather than a tree.