Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees



Walnut – Juglans Regia


The Walnut family consists of 16 species of long-lived, hardy deciduous trees. Most Walnuts are native to Eastern Europe, the Balkans and parts of Asia, although it has been widely planted for centuries. This slow growing tree will live 300 years or more and reach up to 25 metres eventually and produces a very expensive, fancy grained, high quality timber, when felled, which has been used by all the best cabinet-makers throughout the centuries. There is a faster growing native of North America called the “Black Walnut” “Juglans Nigra” that is more commonly grown specifically for harvesting timber. This much larger tree will happily grow, relatively quickly up to 50 metres.

As with several nut bearing trees the male flower parts develop as catkins and appear in May /June. Like the Almond the fruit is not a nut at all, but is a roundish, green fruit, with very little flesh, inside which is the Walnut. When first picked Walnuts are green until dried after which they attain their beige colour. In an old cookbook called “Mrs Beetons ….” there is a recipe for pickling green Walnuts that gives a different flavour to the nuts and different way of eating them.

Several types of special hybridised varieties of grafted Walnut trees can be bought from many plant nurseries, but they are expensive and will take many years to fruit. If you want to plant some Walnut trees for your children or future generations to harvest their delicious nuts, it maybe worth considering the fact that they will germinate readily from ripe nuts and you may like to sow a handful of nuts and grow your own trees as a cheaper alternative.

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