Monday, April 20, 2015
Meet The "Walnut" Tree - (Juglandaceae)
The Walnut family - Juglandaceae - is made up of approximately 20 species of trees that are native to Central, Southern and Eastern parts of the United States, Central America South through the Andes, and from Southeastern Europe through Asia and Japan. There are only six species that are native to the United States, two of which have very wide growth ranges thorughout the Eastern most parts of the country. Walnuts are closesly related to Hickories with the only significant difference being the chamber pith that the Walnuts have and the Hickories do not.
Image Citation: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org
The Walnut is a large tree that grows in a rounded shape at the crown. The leaves can grown up to 24 inches long with 9-21 toothed leaflets making up a single leaf. The leaflets growing at the base of the leaves are larger in size then those growing towards the tips. The catkins grow both male and female on the same tree and are green in color.
Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
The wood of the Walnut is very finely grained, hard, and excepts a very high polish. Once seasoned, Walnut wood is very stable and resists warping and cracking. It is highly sought after for the crafting of fine wood gun stocks and high end furniture.
The fruit is round and warty in appearance and encase the hard wrinkled shell edible nuts. Walnuts are a high density source of nutrients, particularly protiens and essential fatty acids. Walnuts like other tree nuts must be processed and stored properly to remain safe for consumption. Poor storage makes Walnuts susceptible to insect anf fungal mold infestations.
(Walnut Cross Section) Image Citation:(?) A.A. Newton, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
(Walnut Sorage) Image Citation:(?) USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Area Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org