• Giant Sequoia Trees

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    National Parks California

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  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Institute Stage 2 Fire Restrictions

    Effective July 28, 2014, the parks are in Stage 2 fire restrictions. See link below for more information. These restrictions will remain in place until further notice. More »

  • Road Construction Delays Begin on Park Roads for 2014 Season

    Expect occasional 15-minute to 1-hour delays at various locations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks beginning Monday, June 2, weekdays only, between 5 a.m.-3 p.m., including delays to/from the General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, and Grant Grove. More »

  • Vehicle Length Limits in Sequoia National Park (if Entering/Exiting Hwy 198)

    Planning to see the "Big Trees" in Sequoia National Park? If you enter/exit via Hwy. 198, please pay close attention to vehicle length advisories for your safety and the safety of others. More »

  • You May Have Trouble Calling Us

    We are experiencing technical problems receiving incoming phone calls. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please send us an email to SEKI_Interpretation@nps.gov or check the "More" link for trip-planning information. More »

California Buckeye

(Aesculus californica)

 
California buckeye species menu Interactive Time Lapse Feature  Live stream webcams of blue oak and California buckeye  Phenophase profile sheet for California buckeye  Monitoring datasheet for California buckeye
 
California buckeye flowering in the spring

California buckeye flowering in the spring

California Buckeye Habitat

The California buckeye is a native deciduous tree that lives in the foothills of Sequoia National Park, which experiences a drier and warmer climate than the higher elevation habitats where sequoia trees are found. It has adapted to the Mediterranean climate of the foothillls by blooming in the wet winter and becoming dormant by the hottest summer months to avoid moisture loss.

 
California buckeye with fruit in late summer

California buckeye with fruit in late summer

Why monitor the California buckeye?

The buckeye is a dynamic species for phenological monitoring because its life cycle stages are sensitive to changes in weather and climate. For example, the buckeye is one of the first plants to produce new, delicate leaves around February, and one of the first to shed leaves at the onset of hot, dry weather.

 
Western Tiger Swallowtail on California buckeye flower

Western Tiger Swallow on a California buckeye inflorescence

Sandy and Chuck Harris

The nectar of the California buckeye flowers is an important food source for native insect species. During its flowering period a host of beetles, bees and butterflies can be seen drinking nectar. Changes in the timing and duration of flowering may impact these species.

 
Screenshot of interactive PhenoLapse tool

Screenshot of the interactive PhenoLapse tool.

Since late 2010, we have been taking daily pictures of the same California buckeye tree. These pictures have been assembled with climate data from our weather station into an interactive time-lapse tool. Click here to check it out.

Did You Know?

Bootprint on pink algae in snow.

Patches of colorful pink snow in the High Sierra are actually colonies of snow algae — Chlamydomonas nivalis. Unlike most species of fresh-water algae, it thrives in freezing water. Compressing the red snow with your boot increases the intensity of the color. Warning: Do not eat it!