Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Juglans cinerea L.
- Family: Walnut (Juglandaceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: Species of Juglans are distinguished by their pinnately compound leaves with
many leaflets and by their partitioned pith. Butternut differs from the other species of
Juglans by its ovoid-oblong fruits covered by a sticky-hairy husk.
- Habitat: Bottomland woods, river terraces.
- Habit: Medium to large tree up to 90 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 3 feet; crown flat to broadly rounded.
- Bark: Light gray, divided by deep furrows into broad, scaly ridges.
- Twigs: Stout, greenish to orange-brown to gray, smooth or hairy, usually shiny, with white lenticels; pith chocolate-colored, divided by partitions; leaf scars alternate; bundle traces 3; buds blunt at the tip, whitish, hairy, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, with up to 17 leaflets; leaflets up to 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, broadly lance-shaped, pointed at the tip, rounded at the asymmetrical base, finely toothed, yellow-green on the upper surface, paler on the lower surface, softly hairy and sometimes sticky.
- Flowers: Borne separately but on the same tree, the male several in thick, yellow-green spikes, the female much fewer in reduced spikes.
- Sepals: Usually 4, often reduced to teeth.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 8-40.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: In groups of 2-5, ovoid-oblong, up to 2 1/2 inches long, sticky-hairy, the husk thick, the nut pointed at one end, pale brown.
- Notes: The nuts are rich in fats and very tasty. This species is rapidly disappearing because of an uncontrollable disease.
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