Black walnut (Juglans nigra) - canopy on windy day - October 2017
This Black walnut tree can be found in the Hill Barton industrial estate of Exeter, UK. === Other common names black walnut American walnut It is a large tree which can reach 30 or 40 metres in height. The tree gets its name from its dark, heavily ridged bark which occurs even when it is still young. The leaves are pinnate and larger than that of the common walnut (Juglans regia) with more leaflets. Individual leaflets are oval, pointed, irregularly toothed and hairy underneath. Both male and female flowers appear from late May-early June. The male flowers are on 8-10cm long catkins that droop from the branches. Female flowers appear in clusters. During autumn, flowers turn to a brownish-green plum-like fruit. The brown nut is held inside this large semi-fleshy husk which is rougher than that of common walnut. The shells are notoriously hard to break, drying them out makes it easier to crush and open the shells. Inside the twig the pith, or spongy tissue, is segmented. Buds have horseshoe shaped leaf scars, or marks, left by fallen leaves, at their base. Black Walnut is native to eastern north America and was introduced to Europe in 1629. The roots contain a growth-inhibiting chemical which prevents many other trees and plants growing near it, this is said to affect tomatoes and apples in particular. In Britain it thrives best in warmer regions towards the south. It prefers fertile, lowland soil and needs plenty of light. Squirrels and some birds feed off the nuts of the tree whilst the flesh is still green and the husk easier to penetrate. Black walnut is mentioned in Native American creation myths. Black walnut has been used by native people for thousands of years. Native American ethnobotany has revealed many medicinal uses for the bark, leaves, husks, and nuts of black walnut, including its utility as a mosquito repellant, a dermatological aid, an antidiarrhoeal, a laxative, and an anthelminthic. In one form or another, this species has been used to relieve the symptoms of fever, kidney ailments, gastrointestinal disturbances, ulcers, toothache, syphilis, and snake bite, among others. Western science has shown that the fruit husks of the black walnut contain juglone - a compound that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, and may be valuable in controlling dermal, mucosal and oral infections in humans. It is also being tested for its anticancer properties. Timber from the black walnut is very attractive and very valuable. It is a strong and naturally durable wood, and the heartwood shows desirable mottled effects. It polishes to a high shine and is therefore used by craftsmen around the world for high-end furniture and ornaments. The nuts can be eaten but they have a bitter taste if picked when the casing has hardened. It is better to extract the nut from the tree whilst the husk is still green and then dry the nut, to ensure it is not rubbery, before eating. The seeds also give out a dark coloured dye which is still used in craft. In Europe the tree is planted as an ornamental. The young tree can be devastated by the grey squirrel. It also susceptible to walnut leaf blotch. Black walnut has a strong taproot which makes the seedlings resilient, but difficult to transplant. Black walnut nuts are shelled commercially in the United States. About 65% of the annual wild harvest comes from the U.S. state of Missouri, and the largest processing plant is operated by Hammons Products in Stockton, Missouri. The nutmeats provide a robust, distinctive, natural flavor and crunch as a food ingredient. Popular uses include ice cream, bakery goods and confections. Consumers include black walnuts in traditional treats, such as cakes, cookies, fudge, and pies, during the fall holiday season. === Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Fagales Family: Juglandaceae Genus: Juglans Species: J. nigra Binomial name Juglans nigra
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