buckeyes in a blue bowl
glossy cordovan seeds splitting
their spiky shells
After a summer of drought, the palmate leaves of buckeyes are already turning orange in August and the nuts are falling to the dry, cracked ground. I bring a few home and watch as they split open. Smooth, shiny seeds peak out from their armored shells like chocolate bon bons. But raw horse chestnuts have another defense, tannic acid, toxic to humans. However, squirrels will chew off the thick husks and "sample" a few bites of the nuts. They can be eaten if roasted like chestnuts, but I have not tried this.