Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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We all claim to be “Buckeyes” comes football season, when we wear the red and gray.  But would you be so saavy as to recognize a “real” Buckeye months before kickoff…and all those necklaces?

When I wrote about the big Buckeye tree in my yard last October it drew a lot of comments from people that knew something about the genus…and the true difference between what’s a real Buckeye tree and the horse chestnuts that people erroneously identify as Buckeyes.

A couple of people even wrote to stipulate that there are actually different species of “real” Buckeyes.  It was interesting, and I learned something.

Another wrote to mention that Buckeye trees are at their best, however, in spring, when they flower and present themselves in full glory months before the hard brown nuts fall to the ground.

And so it is, as you can see from the accompanying photo of that same tree, now resplendent with a glorious crop of bloom that would pass in terms of beauty with some of the traditional Southern magnolias and poplars.

They have no particular fragrance, but their cream-colored flowers nonetheless attract bees that no doubt aid in pollination.  And from the activity in the tree this week I’m expecting another bumper crop of “real” Ohio Buckeyes come fall.

There’s another issue in distinguishing Buckeyes.  Some bear fruit that are significantly larger than others, verifying the assertion of more than one that like hickories and oaks, not all Buckeyes have the same genetics.  And, as another pointed out, not all Buckeyes are self-pollinating.  Some require other trees in the area in order to bear.

If you’re a tree person it makes for an interesting spring and summer to watch the process go full cycle…to appreciate more than just a few bushels of nuts in the fall.

If you’re just a football fan, stop by and see me for the makins’ of the real thing before next November’s Michigan game.

Don’t settle for an off-shore necklace…made in China!

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