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Juglans cinerea L.
Butternut, White walnut
Synonym(s): Wallia cinerea
USDA Symbol: JUCI
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
White walnut or butternut reaches 40-60 ft. in height with a spread of 30-50 ft. It can grow to 100 ft. The tree is usually short-trunked with stiff branches forming a wide-spreading crown. Tree with short straight trunk, stout branches, broad open crown, and butternut fruit with sticky husk. Long-stemmed, pinnately-compound leaves turn yellow in fall. Fruit is tan in color and football-shaped.
The edible butternuts soon become rancid, and so must be harvested quickly after maturing. Indians made them into oil for many uses, including ceremonial anointing of the head. They are also eaten by wildlife. The husks of the nuts, which contain a brown stain that colors the fingers, yield a yellow or orange dye. The lumber serves as a cabinet wood.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Green Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, WV Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution: GA
n.e. to s.w. N.B. & in river valleys to c. MN Native Habitat:
Mesic woods; river banks
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) CaCO3 Tolerance:
None Soil Description:
Rich, moist soils. Conditions Comments:
Butternut is fairly fast-growing if in its favored moist, rich, sunny habitat. It rarely survives longer than 75 years. The name butternut comes from the mellow flavor of the nut
meat. Susceptible to butternut blight, a fungus which forms cankers that are later invaded by another fungus. These organisms eventually kill the tree.
The outer bark
was once used in medicinal teas for treating toothaches and dysentery, and dried inner bark
was taken to purge the system. (Kershaw) Fragrant Foliage:
PropagationDescription: Plant nuts in fall or spring. If nuts are sown in spring, they must be stratified.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 60-120 days at 34-41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains.
Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Mt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2012-11-07
Research By: TWC Staff