THE WALNUTS The walnuts (genus Juglans) form a noble family of ten species, in which there are no "black sheep"—and this is remark able in any family. Each species yields valuable wood, and sweet, edible nuts. Each one deserves planting as an ornamental and shade tree.
Our American forests show four species—two spread over the eastern half of the continent, one grows in the Southwest, and one in California. To these have been added valuable exotic species. The English or Persian walnut (Juglans regia) is grown in the Southern States and in California; and two Japanese species, J. Sieboldiana and J. cordiformis, both of the butternut type but vastly superior to it, thrive in the regions where the English walnut is not hardy. There is also a Manchurian species in cultivation here. One or more walnuts belong in the West Indies and South America.
Butternut, Oil Nut, White Walnut (J. cinerea, Linn.)— A short-trunked, spreading tree, 5o to 75 feet high, with broad, rounded dome. Bark grey, rough, with broad furrows and narrow ridges, showing paler under bark. Shoots covered with clammy down. Wood light brown, light, soft, coarse grained, with satiny lustre. Buds often one above another in axils, hairy, flattened, terminal largest; inner scales later becoming leaf-like; flower buds naked. Leaves alternate, compound, of i 1 to 19 leaflets, hairy, taper pointed, serrate, sessile, except terminal leaflet, 15 to 3o inches long, yellow-green, turning yellow in autumn; leaflets 3 to 5 inches long; petioles and veins pubescent and clammy. Flowers, May, with leaves, staminate in catkins, 3 to 5 inches long, yellow-green with copious pollen; pistillate in 6 to 8-flowered racemes, covered with glandular hairs; stigmas 2, bright red, spreading; ovule solitary at base of pistil. Fruit, October, an oblong nut in spongy, clammy, sticky, indehiscent husk, with pungent odour; shell thick, deeply sculptured; nut oily, sweet, edible. Preferred habitat, deep, rich loam of river valleys, or well-drained hillsides. Distribution, New Brunswick
to Delaware, and along mountains to Georgia and Alabama; westward through Ontario to Dakota, south to Arkansas. Uses: Planted for shade and for nuts. Wood used for interior finish of houses and for cabinet work. Inner bark and husks yield yellow dye and medicinal substances. Sap sweet, sometimes added to maple sap in making sugar. Nuts pickled when green; locally sold when ripe.
The butternut is a short-trunked, low-headed tree, with far reaching arms that make a crown wider than it is high. There is a tendency to develop the under buds on each twig. This gives a horizontal rather than an upward trend to the limbs. The foliage, trunk and wood are lighter in colour than those of the black walnut. It is a cheerful tree, but unfortunately short lived, and it is rare to see a tree of considerable size that is not diseased by fungi and blemished by insects. The wind breaks the long limbs, whereupon enemies enter and take possession. The winter buds of the butternut are full of character. The leaf scars are prominent, and two or three buds stand in a vertical row above each one. The first bud, just above the hairy "beetling brow" of the leaf scar, is to produce the leafy shoot next spring. Those higher up at the same joint are bare little green pineapples— the staminate catkins in an immature state. The grey-green downy twigs are clammy to the touch, and inside is the wonderful chambered pith that distinguishes all the walnuts.
One need only crush a twig or leaf of a walnut tree to have revived the memory of long-forgotten experiences in brown October's woods. 0 the smell of those juicy brown husks as we cracked the green nuts on a convenient stone, and wiped our damp fingers ineffectually on the grass! The stains wore off at length, but the memories are indelible. The Shakers of Lebanon, Massachusetts, got a rich purple dye by adding something to the brown extract of those husks.