Aesculus chinensis var. wilsonii (Rehder) Turland & N.H.Xia

Aesculus chinensis var. wilsonii (Rehder) Turland & N.H.Xia
Aesculus chinensis var. wilsonii
Photo thediary.caerhays.co.uk
Latin Name: Aesculus chinensis var. wilsonii (Rehder) Turland & N.H.Xia; Family Hippocastanaceae
Synonym Name: Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.; Actinotinus sinensis Oliver
English Name: E. H. Wilson Buckeye, Wilson Buckeye, E. H. Wilson Horsechestnut
Vietnamese name: Kẹn thiên đường.
Chinese name: tian shi li, suoluozi
Description: Deciduous trees, up to 20-25m. Young branches dense long hairs. Winter buds with resin. Compound leaves petioles 10-15cm long, slightly pubescent when young, leaflets 5-7, obovoid or long-inverted lanceolate, 10-25cm long, only sparse long hairs on upper main vein base when young, lower pale green, with grey hairs, with osseous hard serra, lateral veins 20-25 pairs, leaflets petioles 1.5-2.5cm long, slightly pubescent. Inflorescence cylindrical, 20-30cm long, basal diameter 8-10cm, basal small inflorescence 3-4cm long, flowers thick fragrant, male flower on upper part, bisexual flowers on lower part. Calyx cylindrical, 6-7mm long, external slightly pubescent; petals 4, obovoid, front 2 petals with yellow spots, stamens 7, longest up to 3cm, flower disc slightly cracked, glabrous, bisexual flowers ovary ovate 3-chambered, with yellow hairs. Capsule yellow-brown, ovate or nearly flower-shaped, diameter 3-4cm, top with short cusp, no pricks, with spots, shuck 1.5-2mm thick when dry, 3 lobes. Seed usually 1, nearly spherical, hilum less than 1/3 of seed. Flowering: April to May; fruiting: September to October.
Distinctive characteristics with species: Leaflet blades abaxially ± uniformly grayish tomentose or villous, or grayish tomentose on veins (sometimes only when young), base broadly cuneate to rounded or slightly cordate.
Cultivation:
Aesculus chinensis probably prefers a continental climate with its hot summers, cold winters and usually a clear movement from one season to another. The dormant plant is very cold-tolerant, but in more maritime climates it is often tempted to come into growth early and this new growth can easily be damaged by late spring frosts.
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy.
Seedlings quickly develop a taproot and larger plants can be difficult to transplant.
Distribution: Growing in broad-leave forests at altitude 1,000-1,800m. Distributed in Northeast Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, West Hubei, Southwest Hunan, West Jiangxi and North Guangdong. The medicinal materials are produced in Sichuan, Hubei, Guizhou and etc.
Part Used: Medical part: dried or mature seeds.
Harvest & Processing: Harvested in autumn when fruits are mature, removed peels and sun-dried or dried under low temperature.
Chemistry: Mainly contains oleinic acid, glycerol tristearate and aescine.
Pharmacology: Anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowing; toxic.
Properties & Actions: Sweet, warm. Soothing the liver and regulating the qi, alleviating middle energizer and arresting pain.
Edible Uses:
Seed - cooked. It can be dried and ground into a powder and used as a gruel. The seed is quite large, it can be 3cm in diameter, and is easily harvested. Unfortunately it is also rich in saponins, these must be removed before it can be used as a food and this process also removes many of the minerals and vitamins, leaving behind mainly starch. See also the notes above on toxicity.
The following notes apply to Aesculus californica, but are probably also relevant here:
The seed needs to be leached of toxins before it becomes safe to eat - the native Americans would do this by slow-roasting the nuts (which would have rendered the saponins harmless) and then cutting them into thin slices, putting them into a cloth bag and rinsing them in a stream for 2 - 5 days. Most of the minerals etc would also have been leached out by this treatment.
Other Uses: Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts.
Indications & Usage: Swelling and pain in the chest and hypochondrium, breasts, algomenorrhea, epigastric pain. Oral administration: decocting, 5-10g, or burned into powder then taken after mixed with wine. Use with caution in patients with qi-yin deficiency.
Examples:     
1. Treat stomachache: buckeye 1, remove shell, crush and decoct, swallow the decoction.
2. Treat nine types of stomachache: buckeye burned ash, swallow with alcohol.
3. Treat breast lobule hyperplasia: buckeye 9-15g. Decoct in water and drink as tea.
References
Chinese Medicinal Material Images Database
efloras.org
Theplantlist
Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-03-18

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