Facts About Walnut Trees


Six kinds of walnut trees grow native in the United States. In addition to the tasty and nutritious nuts the tree produces, walnut wood is of fine grain and is used in furniture and gun stocks.

Walnuts on a cake


The black walnut has the largest geographical distribution of any walnut in America, growing in most of the central eastern portion of the nation. Another type, the butternut tree, exists in the northeastern section of the country.


In terms of size, the black walnut is the tallest species of walnut, with some growing to be 100 feet high. The butternut averages between 50 and 60 feet tall while western species such as the Arizona walnut and little walnut are smaller at about 20 feet.


Walnut leaves fall off each year and are alternate on the twigs and compound. This means that there is a leaf at each individual node on the branch and the many separate leaflets on one stem comprise each individual leaf.


The nut of the black walnut tree consists of a kernel encompassed by a hard round shell which itself has a tough husk surrounding it. This husk turns from green to yellow-black as the nut ripens.


The Native Americans would boil kernels of the butternut tree to extract the butter-like oil for culinary purposes.


  • Black Walnut: Ohio Department of Natural Resources Website
  • Butternut: Ohio Department of Natural Resources Website
  • Field Guide to Trees of North America; C. Frank Brockman; 1986
Keywords: black walnut, butternut tree, walnut tree

About this Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.