Found an interesting tree fruit in Santa Cruz today on a couple trees with and without foliage. (Near Wilder Ranch State Park along the bluffs on the ocean)

The green colored fruit has three 'panels'. (The most unique aspect to me) It contains a large whitish hollow seed/nut and some smaller seeds. It weeps a clear sticky liquid from the stem and when opened the liquid froths a bit.

Tree leaf is single lobed, simple. Bark was grey and smooth if I remember correctly.

Any thoughts?

  • 4
    A picture would help
    – kevinskio
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 12:00
  • Or perhaps a sketch of the fruit and leaves if a photo is not possible? I would have guessed it was a pecan but your description of the leaves doesn't match the pecan's. Or perhaps Cupaniopsis anacardioides - Carrotwood tree.
    – Brenn
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:05
  • 1
    Thanks for the response. I was on mobile, so uploading a photo didn't work so well. Fortunately, I was able to find the fruit on a tree in the neighborhood I was familiar with and identified it as a California Buckeye.
    – J.P.M.
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 18:33
  • So when will we get our picture? Come on, is too hard to guess otherwise.
    – J. Chomel
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 9:16
  • I think we should leave this question open. It has a thorough answer now, including references and a picture. The fact that the OP found it is a good indication that it was what he was looking for. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


The fruit in question was a premature Aesculus californica, "California Buckeye". Mature buckeyes fill the space and burst the three panels away from the swelled 'nut'. However, young/premature buckeyes have a small whitish pit surrounded by whitish fleshy fruit. The plant is quite high in toxic neurotoxic glycoside aesculin. The weeping of the fruit as well as the flesh and nut were likely in high concentrations of the toxin.

California Buckeye

  • I'm glad you found your tree! It was an interesting question, and now we all get to learn about it. If you'd like to add this picture into the question too, that would be really helpful for future visitors who might read the question but not notice the answer. Thanks! Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:42

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