Butternut, Or White Walnut(juglans cine-rea, Linn.), a beautiful broad-headed American tree, growing 20 to 30 ft. high, with numerous spreading branches and a smooth ash-colored bark. Its leaves, 12 to 18 inches long, consist of 6 to 18 pinnee terminated by an odd one, on a long footstalk. The sterile flowers issue from the sides ot the last year's shoots in long green catkins, each flower enclosing 8 to 12 brown sessile stamens; the fertile flowers are 2 to 7 on a terminal downy stalk; the flowers expand in May, and the fruit ripens in September and October. The form of the fruit is oblong ovoid; it is crowned at the summit by the stigma and ends of the calyx, and invested with glandular hairs secreting a resinous and odorous substance; the outer husk is thin and tough, of a dark brown color when ripe, covering a hard, thick-furrowed, and sharply ridged and sculptured nut, about 2 inches in length, rounded at the base and acute at the apex; the kernel is sweet and pleasant, but from its abundance of oil (whence the name) soon turns rancid unless carefully dried. A mild and useful laxative is extracted from the inner bark of the root of the butternut tree, and the bark and shells afford a brown color used in dyeing wool.
An inferior sugar can be obtained from the sap, and the leaves, which abound in acrid matter, have been employed as a substitute for Spanish flies. The half-grown fruit, gathered in June, is employed in making excellent pickles, first removing the downiness by scalding in water and rubbing with a harsh cloth. The timber is valuable, being tough and not liable to attack by worms. It is less hard than black walnut (J. nigra), but nevertheless may be used for gun stocks, being equally stiff and elastic, for coach panels, wooden bowls, and drawers in cabinet work, and for posts and rails or smaller joists in carpentry. The rich yellow color and close grain make it a very desirable wood for cabinet work or interior finish, forming a marked contrast to black walnut. The species is found in the Canadas, in New England and the middle states, in Kentucky, and on the banks of the Missouri.
Leaves, Flower, Fruit, and cross section of Nut.