Juglans nigra (Black Walnut)
Juglans nigra (Black Walnut) is cultivated commonly as a street and park tree, but its real value lies in its highly desirable nuts and its highly prized lumber. Nut production can occur as early as 5 years, but significant nut production typically occurs at 10-15 years. Though highly prized for its food resource, it can be a bit messy with its fruits dropping in abundance, which can stain fingers, sidewalks, and decks. It is a huge resource for certain wildlife species of mammals including squirrels and chipmunks. Gound Walnut shells are used for many purposes such as an abrasive in hand cleaner and filtering agents in smokestack scrubber systems.
Many parts of the Black Walnut tree (leaves, husks, bark) contain a chemical called hydrojuglone that can inhibit respiration of certain species of plants, causing them to be weakened.
Though this tree may have its faults, it can produce some very tasty food!
Frequently Asked Questions
Photo 3: By Virginia State Parks staff [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons