From the circumstance of our having an abundance of the fruit, from the many species of this genus of trees growing spontaneously around us, it is presumed that the culture of the Juglans regia, commonly called English Walnut, or Madeira Nut, has been neglected by many of our citizens.
It is a native of Persia, and is cultivated in France, England, and in other parts of Europe, both as a fruit and timber tree. The fruit, in England, is much used in a green state for pickling, and also as an adulteration of soy sauce. In France, an oil, which supplies the place of that of Almonds, is made from the kernel. In Spain, they strew the gratings of old and hard nuts, first peeled, into their tarts and other meats. The leaves strewed on the ground, and left there, annoy moles, or macerated in warm water, afford a liquor which will destroy them. The unripe fruit is used in medicine for the purpose of destroying worms in the human body. Pliny says, "the more Walnuts one eats, with the more ease will he drive worms out of the stomach."
The timber is considered lighter, in proportion to its strength and elasticity, than any other, and therefore commonly used in England for gun stocks. It is used in cabinet work in most parts of Europe; the young timber is allowed to make the finest coloured work, but the old to be finest variegated for ornament. When propagated for timber, the nut is sown; but when fruit is the object, inarching from the branches of fruit-bearing trees is preferable. Budding is also practised by some; the buds succeed best when taken from the base of the annual shoots; ordinary sized buds from the upper part of such shoots generally fail.
Walnut trees that have not been grafted or budded, may be induced to produce blossoms by ringing the bark, that is, cutting out a streak of the bark around the body or main branches of the tree. Walnut trees seldom yield much fruit until fifteen or twenty years old; it is produced on the extremities of the preceding year's shoots. The trees should stand forty or fifty feet apart, and they may be permitted to branch out in their natural order. They need but little pruning, merely to regulate any casual disorderly growth, to reduce over-extended branches, and to prune up the low stragglers.
Lest any of our native Walnuts should be neglected or abandoned by any, I annex a description of the different kinds:
Julians catharticus, is known under the name of Butternut. Oilnut, and white Walnut; these nuts are used by the Indians as a medicine.
Juglans nigra, the black Walnut, is a tree of large size; its fruit is known to be excellent.
Juglans olivceformis, Pecan, or Illinois nut, is delicious. The nuts of Juglans sulcata, which is called thick shell bark, Hickory, and Springfield, and Gloucester nut, are large and well-tasted. The shell bark Hickory, shag bark, or scaly bark Hickory, Juglans alba, is so called on account of its bark, which is torn lengthwise in long loose strips, as in J. sulcata. The Juglans tormentosa, the Mucker nut, white heart Hickory, or common Hickory, and most of the other kinds enumerated, are worth preserving; or cultivating where there is none, for its timber for mechanical purposes; and that of the Juglans glabra, or Hog nut, is useful for brooms, etc.