Plants & Gardening

Why do conkers have spiky shells?

They develop spiky shells as a matter of defense. Animals like squirrels, badgers, and others will consume conkers. WARNING! Avoid picking up conkers since they could pierce your skin and cause bleeding!

What is the purpose of a conker?

They have been made into a food for horses and cattle in the past, either by soaking them in lime-water to reduce their bitterness or by soaking in water overnight before being boiled, ground up and added to the rest of the fodder. Conkers have also been carried in the pocket to help prevent piles and rheumatism.

What's inside a conker shell?

What is a conker? The green spiky balls that dangle from horse-chestnuts are its fruit, which develop over summer from the candle-like flowers. Inside is the conker, which is the seed of the horse-chestnut.

What are conker shells?

Conkers are the glossy brown seeds of the horse chestnut tree. They grow in green spiky cases and fall to the ground in autumn - the shells often split on impact to reveal the shiny conker inside.

Why do chestnuts have spikes?

These protective burrs are where the chestnuts form. They typically appear on the tree in early summer and stay attached to the tree until late fall, when the nuts are ready to harvest. Do not confuse the horse chestnut for an edible chestnut tree. Horse chestnuts are poisonous.

What's the difference between a chestnut and a conker?

Horse chestnut fruits are unique in appearance; the conkers are contained inside greenish-yellow spiny “balls,” which often break open and shed their nuts in mid to late fall. Conkers are reddish-brown in color, giving them a similar appearance to true chestnuts, but they are much more rounded in shape.

Are chestnut spikes poisonous?

These blossoms, in turn, produce spiny nutshells containing smooth, shiny seeds. They are termed horse chestnuts, buckeyes, or conkers. They resemble edible chestnuts but are, in fact, TOXIC. The horse chestnut's fruit is a spiny green capsule 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm.)

Do conkers keep spiders away?

Conkers might not repel spidersUnfortunately, there's no proof this is true. The story goes that conkers contain a noxious chemical that repels spiders but no-one's ever been able to scientifically prove it. There's hearsay that if a spider gets close to a conker it will curl its legs up and die within one day.

Are conker shells poisonous to dogs?

Not only are conkers poisonous to dogs, but the nuts and the spiky shell can also cause damage and blockages in your dog's gut if they are ingested. They also pose a significant choking hazard.

Are conkers toxic to dogs?

Dogs who have eaten or swallowed conkers, allowing the toxins to enter their body, can be very sick. They can vomit, collapse, have diarrhoea, get very restless with the discomfort and pain, become severely dehydrated and go into toxic shock.

What is the biggest conker ever found?

The caterpillar was officially counted at CONKERS by local accountants Charlotte Jackson and Louise Dobson and contained 16,847 conkers. Local surveyor Steven Nicholson of Fisher German professionally measured the caterpillar and declared it to be 341.2 metres long.

How do you open a conker shell?

If the conker shell hasn't come off and you are finding it hard to open, then there is a trick to opening them without hurting your fingers on the spikes. All you have to do is put the conker on the ground and gently roll it with your foot. By applying the right amount of pressure, the shell breaks open as you roll it.

Are horse chestnuts toxic?

While cultivated or wild sweet chestnuts are edible, horse chestnuts are toxic, and can cause digestive disorders such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, or throat irritation.

Is a conker a nut or a seed?

The horse chestnut is a beautiful ornamental tree with attractive leaves and flowers. It produces prickly fruit capsules that contain a glossy brown and nut-like seed. The seed is known as a conker and has been used in a popular children's game since at least the mid-nineteenth century.

Does any animal eat conkers?

There are some animals that can safely eat conkers. These include wild boars and deer. However, they are too toxic for humans to eat and will make people unwell. Strangely, despite the name horse chestnuts, they are also poisonous for horses.

How long do conkers last?

THE ONLY way to actually harden conkers, despite what many people say, is to store them in a cool, dry place for at least one year. It is best to store about twenty or more in a shoebox in a garage. Many of the conkers will go mouldy and the insides will become full of a green dusty substance, but one should survive.

Can I grow a tree from a conker?

It is always exciting to teach them about how to grow from seed or, in this case, from conkers. Conkers, often called the buckeye, contain seeds from which new trees can grow. These are the fruit of the horse chestnut tree. However, the conker must be opened for the release of the seeds.

Why are there no conkers this year 2021?

But your game of conkers could be in trouble. That's because the trees where they come from have been put on the official extinction list. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, about half of horse chestnut trees face extinction because they're being attacked by moths and disease.

Do conkers ripen off the tree?

Conkers are ready when they have fallen from the tree as this is when they've hardened and ripened in the middle. The Woodland Trust states that a conker is ready pretty much as soon as you pick it up off the floor – often the sooner the better. Left on the ground for too long, conkers can become weaker and soggier.

Where do you put conkers to keep spiders away?

Deter spiders with conkers by placing them on window sills and in corners of the room. Walnuts are thought to have a similar effect. There is actually no scientific evidence to back this up, so you may want to consider it as a last resort.

Are conkers poisonous to cats?

Conkers: Conkers from the Horse Chestnut tree can be poisonous to pets but they are not very palatable so animals rarely eat large quantities of them. As well as being poisonous, they may also become stuck in the intestines, causing a blockage.

Why are they called horse chestnuts?

Etymology. The common name horse chestnut originates from the similarity of the leaves and fruits to sweet chestnuts, Castanea sativa (a tree in a different family, the Fagaceae), together with the alleged observation that the fruit or seeds could help panting or coughing horses.

What happens if you eat a conker?

Conkers themselves are mildly toxic and can cause stomach upset. Conkers should not be confused with the rather similar looking edible chestnuts!

What happens if you plant a conker?

Plant your conkers and grow new horse chestnut trees! Fill a deep gratnells tray half full with water and pop your conkers in. The ones that float can be discarded (or used for the other activities below), they have dried out and will not grow into new tree if planted.

Do squirrels eat conkers?

It's not popular for squirrels to eat conkers. They actually have a desire to collect the conker and bury it somewhere or bring it to their nest. Obviously, in areas where the number of squirrels is higher, there is a lack of conkers.

What should I do if I ate a horse chestnut?

Raw horse chestnut seed, bark, flower, and leaf contain esculin and are unsafe to use. Signs of esculin poisoning include stomach upset, muscle twitching, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and paralysis. Seek immediate medical attention if you've accidentally consumed raw horse chestnut.

Can dogs eat horse chestnuts?

Horse chestnut trees drop hard, dark brown nuts, or conkers, from September onwards. Just like the tree's bark, leaves and flowers, they can be fatal to dogs if ingested. Not only do they pose a choking risk due to their size and shape, they also contain a deadly toxin called Aesculin which is poisonous to pups.

Does horse chestnut thin your blood?

Horse chestnut may slow blood clotting and increase the effects of blood thinners like Coumadin. Insulin or oral diabetes medicine. Horse chestnut may lower blood sugar and cause levels to become too low if taken with diabetes medication.

What does vinegar do to conkers?

Soaking your conker in vinegar will essentially pickle it, naturally removing some of the moisture from the inside, whilst at the same time hardening the outside (without 100% drying it out).

What month are conkers ready?

Conkers ripen in autumn and fall to the ground during September and October. Look for them scattered around the base of horse chestnut trees. The prickly outer cases will often burst open revealing the shiny, brown seeds inside. If you're collecting for a game of conkers, it's best to gather ripe ones from the ground.

Do they have conkers in America?

Do they play conkers in the US? Yes, conkers is a game that is played in the USA. However, the popularity of the game of conkers in America varies on States - for example, it is popular in Ohio (which is actually nicknamed the Buckeyes) and also in hipster areas of New York - like Brooklyn.

Why are conkers called conkers?

It is unclear how the game came to be called conkers – it may have come from a local dialect word for 'hard nut', or from the French 'conque' (conch shell) when the game was originally played with seashells, or 'cogner', meaning 'to hit'.

Can you play conkers in England?

Conkers is a traditional children's game in Great Britain and Ireland played using the seeds of horse chestnut trees—the name 'conker' is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself.

Do squirrels like horse chestnuts?

Do squirrels eat horse chestnuts? Squirrels have a primal instinct to gather nuts/ seeds, but they do not eat horse-chestnuts except in extreme circumstances. Horse chestnuts contain aesculin which causes upset stomachs and in large enough amounts is very dangerous.

Can dogs eat horse hooves?

Most dogs have no problem chewing on small, fresh pieces of hoof trimmings. Letting your dog have a small "treat" from the farrier will be fine in most cases. Avoid letting your dog have any trimmings if you have recently (as in within a week) dewormed your horses - especially if you used an ivermectin dewormer.

Are chestnuts toxic to cats?

According to the ASPCA, chestnuts and the leaves and stems of chestnut plants are safe for cats to eat. However, horse chestnuts, which are also sometimes called buckeyes, are toxic to cats and should not be consumed.

Are conkers and acorns the same?

We receive lots of enquires at this time of year about dogs eating acorns (the fruit of oak) and conkers (the seed of the horse chestnut). With acorns about a quarter of dogs remain well and with conkers about a third of dogs do not develop any signs.

Can dogs eat cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies.

Can dogs get chestnuts on their legs?

Raw or cooked sweet chestnuts (fruit of the Castanea species of trees) are safe for dogs to eat. Horse chestnuts, also known as conkers (seeds of the Aesculus Hippocastanum tree) are toxic to dogs. Never let your dog eat horse chestnuts.

What are spiders afraid of?

It's easy to keep spiders away using natural products. These eight-legged creatures hate the smell of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. They also don't like peppermint oils, tea tree oils, eucalyptus, and vinegar. Using any of these around your home will keep spiders away.

Do spiders hate lavender?

Spiders really don't like strong scents such as citrus, peppermint, tea-tree, lavender, rose or cinnamon. Add 15 to 20 drops of your chosen essential oil or a couple of capfuls of Zoflora fragrance to a spray bottle filled with water, and spritz around the house.

What wood do spiders hate?

Cedar. Cedar blocks and chips sprinkled around your home and inside your house will get rid of spiders and other bugs. An added bonus is a nice woody scent around your home.

What kind of nut has a spiky shell?

If you've encountered some round, spiny balls under a tree or maybe still on the plant, and you're wondering what it could be, it's likely one of several options: buckeye/horsechestnut (Aesculus), chestnut (Castanea), or sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua).

How can you tell horse chestnuts from edible chestnuts?

The toxic, inedible horse chestnuts have a fleshy, bumpy husk with a wart-covered appearance. Both horse chestnut and edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but edible chestnuts always have a tassel or point on the nut. The toxic horse chestnut is rounded and smooth with no point or tassel.

Can horses eat horse chestnut tree?

Horse chestnut (Ohio buckeye), whose scientific name is Aesculus Hippocastanum or glabra, is one of those trees which is toxic to your horse. It is utilized as a shade and ornamental tree and can also be found infrequently in many wooded areas.

Are raw chestnuts poisonous?

Beware of Raw ChestnutsIngesting high levels of tannic acid can cause stomach irritation, liver damage, or kidney damage. A tannic acid is a particular form of tannin, which is a type of polyphenol.

What happens if you eat a cooked horse chestnut?

The most common symptom is stomach irritation. However, it is important to know that there have been reports of children who have eaten horse chestnuts and who felt weak, had difficulty walking, became drowsy, experienced paralysis, and showed muscle twitching in addition to major stomach irritation.

How long does it take for a horse chestnut tree to produce conkers?

But did you know that you can grow your own? Chestnut trees thrive best in temperate climates, and some varieties may take up to 12 years before producing fruit. There's no better time than now to start planning out how you will celebrate your first harvest.

What smells do spiders love?

Cinnamon, tea tree, lavender, rose, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils: Add 20 drops of any of these oils to water in a spray bottle, and spritz it around the house where you see spiders. Cedar: Place cedar chips, blocks, or balls in places where spiders congregate in the house.

What smells attract spiders?

While human food is not in their natural food chain, spiders are easily attracted to human food scents. Also, the insects that spiders eat seek out your crumbs. Spiders are sure to follow.

Do spiders sleep at night?

In general, many spiders, such as house spiders, will sleep during the day and hunt at night. They follow daily cycles of rest and activity, known as the circadian rhythm.

Do mums keep spiders away?

Mums need sunny locations, but if you do not want spiders in your flower beds, mums are great as spider repellents. Deadheaded or remove the dead blossoms to encourage flowers. The more flowers your mum has, the fewer spiders you will see. Chrysanthemums can be found growing outdoors as well as indoors.

Do fans scare spiders?

Do Fans Deter Spiders? No, fans do not deter spiders. Spiders can easily spin strands of silk that are strong enough to withstand even the air currents of bigger fans. Unless your fan is spinning at very fast speeds, spiders will simply hold on to their webs until you turn off the fan.

Do candles ward off spiders?

Spiders hate the smell of anything citrus and using lemon-scented cleaners, polish and burning citronella candles will all help repel them.

What noise do spiders hate?

The team established that the spiders freeze when exposed to low-frequency sounds of about 80 to 400 hertz that resemble a low hum, or buzz.

Do spiders remember you?

One of the most basic reasons a spider won't remember you is because it can't see you or your face, according to the Australian Museum. About half the spiders out there catch prey with webs. They don't need great eyesight, they just have to sit and wait for their prey to come to them.

Do spiders watch you?

"If a spider turns to look at you, it is almost certainly a jumping spider," Jakob says, adding that they respond to their own mirror images and watch videos showing insects. When shown videos of moving crickets, the spiders will attack the screen.

Can you peel off horses chestnuts?

Just peel them off layer by layer with your hands or fingernails. You could use a knife or similar sharp tool. However, they trim relatively easily by pinching them off (not twisting) with fingernails. Keep in mind that they come off easier when wet, so consider pruning them after a rinse or bath.

Can humans eat horse chestnuts?

While cultivated or wild sweet chestnuts are edible, horse chestnuts are toxic, and can cause digestive disorders such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, or throat irritation.

Should you peel horse chestnuts?

Should you cut off or trim your horses' chestnuts? You really should leave your horses' chestnuts alone. But if they look unsightly and you want to trim them you can. Just don't cut deep or use your fingernails to peel them.