Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is a large deciduous tree often 50-70’ tall (maximum 132’) with a clear straight trunk and open, board crown. Leaves are large and compound, consisting narrow pointed leaflets that are broadest near the base. The terminal leaflet is usually small or lacking. Twigs are stout, sparse, and dull orange-brown. Bark of smaller branches and trunks is typically peeling in thin long scales. Bark is dark, roughly furrowed in a diamond pattern. Fruit is nearly round and green turning dark brown and rough with irregular deep grooves and jagged broken ridges. Husks are sticky and will stain hands. Nuts are difficult to crack, but are delicious. The wood is chocolate-brown, of supreme value, and used for veneer. The tree gives off a chemical that prevent many other plants, including tomatoes, from growing in their vicinity. The tree was introduced to Britain by John Tradescant in 1656.
Common name: Black Walnut
Scientific Name (family and order): Juglans nigra L. (Juglandaceae, Fagales)
Species Native Origin: Central and Eastern North America
New Jersey Status: USDA Native
Habit: 50 – 100’ high, 70’ wide; bole 2 – 4’. with clear straight trunk.
Habitat: Zones 4 – 9; rich woods.
Trunk/Stem: Bark dark- gray-brown to blackish with narrow rough ridges.
Leaves: Deciduous, Pinnately Compound, Alternate. 18” long. Pinnate with 11 -23 ovate leaflets, narrow but broadest at the base, taper-points, sharply toothed; each leaflet 4 ¼” long with glossy dark green above and hairy below. Terminal leaflet usually small and missing so the number of leaflets is even. Aromatic when crushed. Leave mature very late spring. Autumn color bright yellow.
Flowers: Monoecious. No petals. Male flowers clustered on catkins yellow green, 4” long hanging singly; female flowers on catkins in clusters up to 5; short and borne separately near the end of shoot on the same plant as male flowers in late spring
Fruits and seeds: Fruit a round edible brown nut enclosed in a green unseamed husk, 2” long borne singly, in pairs or in threes. The nut is dark brown with irregular deep grooves and jagged broken ridges.