Common Walnut tree identification
The Common Walnut Juglans regia is native to a region stretching from south-east Europe to China and has been grown in Britain since Roman times. It is now common in gardens and parks especially in the South of England. The timber is highly valued for fine furniture and the nut has been used in cookery for more than 2000 years. Most walnut imports to the UK come from California, India and China.
Common Walnut tree identification – pinnate leaves with 5-13 leaflets, end leaflet huge, male catkins in May, green fruit in August
The pinnate leaf has 5 to 13, but usually 7, smooth-edged leaflets. The end leaflet can be huge. The leaves are bronze when they open in late spring and turn green in June.
Male and female flowers are separate but on the same tree (Monoecious). This photo shows a male catkin in May after a cold Spring. The tree is just coming into leaf.
Male catkins hang down like this in mid May, in a normal year. The catkin is covered from top to bottom in male flowers. Each flower has up to 20 deep purple anthers. This is a close-up of the deep purple anthers that release pollen onto the wind. Male catkins wither and drop off soon after releasing pollen.
This photo of a walnut, half eaten by a squirrel, shows the stony layer inside the fleshy layer with the seed missing. The Walnut fruit is a ‘drupe’ which is a botanical term for a fruit that has its seed enclosed by a stony layer.
Terminal buds and some lateral buds are small and velvety and shaped like a ‘bishops hat’. These buds are female flower/leaf buds. Some lateral buds stick out and these are male flower buds.