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Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra)

The Eastern Black walnut is a species of flowering tree in the hickory family, Juglandaceae , that is native to eastern North America. It grows mostly in riparian zones, from southern Ontario, west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia, northern Florida and southwest to central Texas . Isolated wild trees in the Upper Ottawa Valley may be an isolated native population or may have derived from planted trees.

The black walnut is a large deciduous tree attaining heights of 30-40 feet (9.1-12 m). Under forest competition it develops a tall, clear bole ; the open-grown form has a short bole and broad crown. The bark is grey-black and deeply furrowed. The pith of the twigs contains air spaces. The leaves are alternate, 30-60 cm long, odd-pinnate with 15-23 leaflets, the largest leaflets located in the center, 7-10 cm long and 2-3 cm broad. The male flowers are in drooping catkins 8-10 cm long, the female flowers terminal, in clusters of two to five, ripening during the autumn into a fruit (nut) with a brownish-green, semi-fleshy husk and a brown corrugated nut. The whole fruit, including the husk, falls in October; the seed is relatively small and very hard. The tree tends to crop more heavily in alternate years.

While its primary native region is the midwest and east central United States, the black walnut was introduced into Europe in 1629. It is cultivated there and in North America as a forest tree for its high quality wood. Nuts are produced more by open-grown trees. Black walnut is more resistant to frost than the Persian walnut (also known as the English walnut), but thrives best in the warmer regions of fertile, lowland soils with a high water table. It is a light-demanding species. The wood is used to make furniture, flooring, and rifle stocks, and oil is pressed from the seeds. Nuts are harvested by hand from wild trees. About 65% of the annual wild harvest comes from the U.S. state of Missouri and the largest processing plant is in Stockton, Missouri . [ citation needed ] The black walnut nutmeats are used as an ingredient in food while the hard black walnut shell is used commercially in abrasive cleaning, cosmetics, and oil well drilling and water filtration.

Text and photo of fruit courtesy of Wikipedia

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