American White Walnut/Butternut Tree - Juglans cinerea
- Botanical Name: Juglans cinerea
- Common Name: American Butternut, White Walnut
- Zone: 3 – 7
- Sun: Full Sun
- Height: 40-60ft
- Spread: 40-60ft
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Medium
- Bloom Time: May – June
- Native Range: Eastern United States
Juglans cinerea, more commonly called American Butternut or White Walnut, is a valued native American tree that is becoming increasingly rare in the wild. White Walnut/Butternut is similar in appearance to black walnut (Juglans nigra), except it is generally smaller, has less fissured bark, fewer leaflets per leaf and its nuts are more oval than round.
It is a fast growing, short-lived tree, living roughly 75 years. It is native to moist bottomlands, lowland forests and some drier limestone soils in eastern and midwestern North America.
Nuts mature in fall, and the shells can be hard to crack. The kernels are small, but sweet, oily and very tasty, having a buttery flavor, which is how it got its name. The nuts are also considered by many to be far superior in taste. The tree can also be tapped for sap to make a delicious syrup. The husks can be used to make a yellow or orange dye. Ripens in late August to late September. Bears fruit in 2-3 years.
Overharvesting of trees for commercial use, plus losses from the canker disease have reduced native tree populations to the point where the butternut is now endangered in most parts of its range.
Self pollinating, but two trees are recommended for good pollination and heavy fruit set.