In 1953, the Ohio Legislature designated the Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra, as Ohio’s official state tree. The tree is called the buckeye because its nuts resemble the shape and color of a deer’s eye. The buckeye is relatively common in Ohio, growing especially well along rivers and streams and in floodplains.
The buckeye tree has also provided Ohioans with their principal nickname—the Buckeyes. Ohioans have referred to themselves as Buckeyes since at least the election of 1840, when Ohio resident William Henry Harrison won the presidency. Harrison’s supporters carved campaign souvenirs out of buckeye wood to illustrate their support for their fellow Ohioan.
The buckeye has become better known as The Ohio State University’s nickname, personified through their mascot “Brutus the Buckeye.”