The Horse Chestnut Tree - the Spring Equinox tree
Stout trees with huge domed canopies and gnarled bark. As they can grow to 30 metres and are among the first trees to put out leaves in the spring, they give a magnificent grandeur to our surroundings.
They are special in having distinctive 5 lobed leaves like a hand print, and their clusters of white/pink flowers make them look like giant candelabras.
Everyone knows them for their big mahogany-brown conkers that burst out of green, spiky fruit in the autumn when their leaves glow orange and scarlet. Strangely, they are related to the Lychee family.
There has been an annual world conker championship in the Northants village of Ashton since 1965, but for those with green fingers conkers are easy to germinate in pots and grow on to plant somewhere special with the help of your local Tree Wardens.