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The Trees Don’t Give A Hoot

5 replies on “The Trees Don’t Give A Hoot”

It’s a horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) of which there are many here in Cambridge and in the UK. It’s sometimes called a conker tree because children (including me in my day) put a string through the ripe nut and battle for whose got the hardest conker. One person holds their conker by its string and the other person swings their conker. The two make contact and one or the other will eventually break. The winner then has a ‘one-er’. If he or she beats another conker, then it’s a ‘two-er’.

The flowers you can see are often called candelabras – for the way they look. They are usually white. Some varieties are pink, and some are white flushed with a delicate pink.

The nut is not edible and it’s not related to the Sweet chestnut, or Spanish chestnut (Castanea sativa). Sweet chestnuts are the ones you buy in a little bag, roasted from street vendors. I like those trees with their spiral trunks. You do see them here in the UK, but not many – not like Horse chestnuts, which are everywhere.

I looked up Paulownia. That looks lovely with the pink blossom.

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I am having fun imagining you as a kid playing conkers, David. I have heard reference to the game a number of times over the years here, so thanks for explaining it here: Cute with the “one-er” and “two-er” bit! I imagine all kids are too glued to their phones these days to play that, what a pity…

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Just to add a bit to David’s long, interesting reply to you, Joan – these horse chestnut trees are amongst my super favorite trees here in the UK. And I often think of Hemingway’s glorious writing about seeing them in full bloom in Paris in his “A Moveable Feast.” A luxuriant, beautiful tree indeed!…

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