The California buckeye is one of the first shrubs to leaf out in spring and one of the earliest to shed its leaves in mid-summer. It is found on dry slopes, canyons and the borders of streams in many plant communities below 1700 m. in northwestern and central western California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada foothills, Tehachapi Mountains, Great Central Valley, and southwestern Mohave Desert. When the shrub is mature, dead and dying branches can be lightly pruned if necessary.
Do not plant buckeyes near apiaries as the flowers are poisonous to honey bees. No wildlife eat buckeye seeds except squirrels, such as the California ground squirrel (Citellus beecheyi