Thursday, September 29, 2016

The English Walnut-Juglans regia

The English Walnut-Juglans regia,  is most easily recognized by the combination of large rounded or ellipsoid fruit (nuts) and pinnately compound leaves with 5-9 leaflets each.  The leaves are similar to those of the Black Walnut - Juglans nigra and Butternut - Juglans cinerea, the three can be easily confused for one another by the untrained eye.  The English Walnut is a fast growing deciduous tree that reaches heights of 80-85 feet tall.  It grows in a single trunk erect/upright fashion with a slender trunk and crown made up of spreading and ascending branches.  

Image Citation: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

The bark of the English Walnut is smooth and brownish in color, becoming an irregularly furrowed silver gray with age.  The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound and made up of 5-9 leaflets that are opposite one another.  The leaf base is broadly wedge shaped, the tips pointed and margins running the entire length of each leaf.  The male flowers occur in Spring in the form of spikes that are 5-15 cm long each with 6-40 stamens each.  The fruit is a large rounded or ellipsoid nut or drupe that averages in size from 4-6 cm in diameter with a green husk that matures in Summer or early Fall.  

Image Citation: Piero Amorati, ICCroce - Casalecchio di Reno,

Originally introduced from Asia and cultivated in cooler portions of the East, not believed to be naturalized in the United States at this time. Walnuts are harvested and sold in two forms shelled or in their shells (whole).  The number one producer of Walnuts is China, Iran and the United States follow behind (though not closely as they each only produce about a quarter of the Walnuts that China does annually).  Walnuts must be handled and stored correctly so as to not mold, mold on a Walnut produces aflatoxin, a potent carcinogen. A mold infested walnut batch should be immediately discarded and can not be salvaged.  Walnut hulls contain phenolics, this chemical can stain hands and cause skin irritation or potential allergic reactions on sensitive skin.

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