Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Butternut leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Butternut.



Smaller than black walnut, seldom more than 30' to 50' with a diameter of up to 24", although in the forest it can attain a height of 80' with a diameter of 36"; trunk usually divided and forked or crooked; top develops into open, broad crown; may be distinguished from black walnut by velvet collars just above scars left by last year's leaves.


Divided into ridges, light gray on branches and trunks of small trees; becomes darker on large trees.


Alternate on stem, length 15" to 30", pinnately compound with 11 to 17 sharply pointed, oblong, finely toothed leaflets; yellowish green above and hairy underneath; yellow or brown in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Light brown nut enclosed in oblong, somewhat pointed, sticky, yellowish green husk about 2" long; husk covered with short, rusty, clammy, sticky hairs; nut has rough, grooved shell and oily edible kernel.


Found in southeastern and east-central Minnesota; shade intolerant, fast growing; species is being destroyed by a fungus called butternut canker.

Wood uses

Light, soft, not strong, coarse-grained, light brown; takes good polish; used for furniture and interior finish for houses. A yellow dye can be made from the tree?s inner bark and nut husks.

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