Most of us have heard of buckeyes, but few Kansans have actually seen a buckeye.
Even though the Texas buckeye tree is native to parts of Kansas, it is relatively uncommon in Marion County.
Joan Donahue, of rural Lincolnville, considers a lucky charm. A bush with buckeye seeds grows on the family’s property.
“I’ve collected them when the seeds turn brown in the fall,” she said.
Donahue is so fond of the unusual seed that she had a necklace made from several of them.
“I’ve had some seeds in my desk drawer at the office for several years,” she said, so she’s not particularly concerned about the seeds changing color or shape.
A jeweler in Abilene took several of the buckeyes and strung them with sterling silver beads.
So now, Donahue proudly wears her luck in the unusual necklace.
What is a buckeye?
According to the Ohio Buckeye Tree web site, the deciduous Ohio Buckeye Tree was called buckeye because the seed resembles the eye of a buck deer — a buck eye.
The seeds were used by Native Americans who roasted, peeled, and mashed the nut. The poison and bitter taste can be eliminated by heating and leaching.