Butternut Oilnut Lemon Walnut
=Habitat and Range.=--Roadsides, rich woods, river valleys, fertile,
moist hillsides, high up on mountain slopes.
New Brunswick, throughout Quebec and eastern Ontario.
Maine,--common, often abundant; New Hampshire,--throughout the
Connecticut valley, and along the Merrimac and its tributaries, to the
base of the White mountains; Vermont,--frequent; Massachusetts,--common
in the eastern and central portions, frequent westward; Rhode Island and
South to Delaware, along the mountains to Georgia and Alabama; west
to Minnesota, Kansas, and Arkansas.
=Habit.=--Usually a medium-sized tree, 20-45 feet in height, with a
disproportionately large trunk, 1-4 feet in diameter; often attaining
under favorable conditions much greater dimensions. It ramifies at a few
feet from the ground and throws out long, rather stout, and nearly
horizontal branches, the lower slightly drooping, forming for the height
of the tree a very wide-spreading head, with a stout and stiffish spray.
At its best the butternut is a picturesque and even beautiful tree.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk dark gray, rough, narrow-ridged and wide-furrowed
in old trees, in young trees smooth, dark gray; branchlets brown gray,
with gray dots and prominent leaf-scars; season's shoots greenish-gray,
faint-dotted, with a clammy pubescence. The bruised bark of the nut
stains the skin yellow.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds flattish or oblong-conical, few-scaled,
2-4 buds often superposed, the uppermost largest and far above the
axil. Leaves pinnately compound, alternate, 1-1-1/2 feet long,
viscid-pubescent throughout, at least when young; rachis enlarged at
base; stipules none; leaflets 9-17, 2-4 inches long, about half as wide,
upper surface rough, yellowish when unfolding in spring, becoming a dark
green, lighter beneath, yellow in autumn; outline oblong-lanceolate,
serrate; veins prominent beneath; apex acute to acuminate; base obtuse
to rounded, somewhat inequilateral, sessile, except the terminal
leaflet; stipels none.
=Inflorescence.=--May. Appearing while the leaves are unfolding, sterile
and fertile flowers on the same tree,--the sterile from terminal or
lateral buds of the preceding season, in single, unbranched, stout,
green, cylindrical, drooping catkins 3-6 inches long; calyx irregular,
mostly 6-lobed, borne on an oblong scale; corolla none; stamens 8-12,
with brown anthers: fertile flowers sessile, solitary, or several on a
common peduncle from the season's shoots; calyx hairy, 4-lobed, with 4
small petals at the sinuses; styles 2, short; stigmas 2, large,
feathery, diverging, rose red.
=Fruit.=--Ripening in October, one or several from the same footstalk,
about 3 inches long, oblong, pointed, green, downy, and sticky at first,
dark brown when dry: shells sculptured, rough: kernel edible, sweet but
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in any
well-drained soil, but prefers a deep, rich loam; seldom reaches its
best under cultivation. Trees of the same age are apt to vary in vigor
and size, dead branches are likely to appear early, and sound trees 8 or
10 inches in diameter are seldom seen; the foliage is thin, appears late
and drops early; planted in private grounds chiefly for its fruit; only
occasionally offered in nurseries, collected plants seldom successful.
Best grown from seed planted where the tree is to stand, as is evident
from many trees growing spontaneously.
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Sterile flower, side view.
4. Fertile flower.
=Juglans nigra, L.=
Next: Black Walnut
Previous: Juglandaceae Walnut Family