Walnut (Juglans regia)
The Walnut tree (Juglans regia) is a large, round headed tree with spreading branches grown principally for its nuts and timber.
Useful info about Walnut trees
|Latin Name||Juglans regia|
|Type||Deciduous (loses its leaves in winter)|
|Height||Can grow up to 15 - 20 metres (50 - 65 feet)|
|Spread||The branches can spread out to 10 - 15 metres (33 - 50+ feet)|
|Soil Types Preferred||Chalk, Clay, Limestone, Sand|
|Locations Suitable||Farmland, Gardens, Parks|
|Flowers||Yellow catkins in spring|
|Fruit||Nuts in autumn|
The walnut tree has large pinnate leaves, they are gland dotted and aromatic. Leaves turn from green to a warm buttery yellow in autumn.
The young bark is grey and smooth at first, later deeply furrowed dark bark.
Male and female flowers occur separately on the same tree in June/July. The female flowers are short spikes with a single flower, the male flowers are long catkins (5-15 cm). The female flowers ripen into a single-seeded fruit.
The large fleshy green fruit does not split but rather rots to release the pitted stone (walnut) which encloses a single seed.
Mature walnut trees can grow to 35m. It is thought to be slow growing but it grows strongly when young and can make a substantial and imposing tree over 20m (60ft) tall and 12m (40ft) wide.
They typically have a short trunk and broad crown, though can be narrower if grown in a woodland situation. The bark is smooth and olive-brown when young, developing fissures and fading to silver-grey with age.
Twigs are stout, green and curving. Leaves are shiny and pinnate (feather-like), with five to nine paired oval leaflets and one 'terminal' leaflet at the end.
The leaves have a strong smell of polish when rubbed and this smell is said to act as a repellent to flies.
The walnut is monoceious, meaning both male and female flowers are found on the same tree.
The male flowers are drooping yellow-green catkins 5–10 cm long, and the female flowers appear in clusters of two to five. Once pollinated by wind, female flowers develop into a fruit with a green, fleshy husk and a brown, wrinkled walnut.
The whole fruit, including the husk, falls in autumn. The seed is large, with a relatively thin shell, and edible, with a rich flavour.
Its original natural habitat is unknown, it is however probably South Eastern Europe.
In the UK the walnut comes into leaf late in late spring or early summer, its young shoots are orange brown before eventually becoming green.
The edible nuts which are an easily storable food source have meant that this tree has been cultivated for many thousands of years.
The timber is often used in furniture and cabinet making as well as for making gunstocks.
Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.
Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.
Culture and Symbolism
The walnut's botanical name, Juglans, originates in Roman mythology. According to an ancient myth, Jupiter, who was also known as Jove, dined on walnuts when he lived on earth. Therefore Romans called walnuts Jovis glans, meaning 'the glans of Jupiter’.
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