Black Walnut
(Juglans nigra)
Black Walnut drawing
Black Walnut Leaf and Nuts

Pen and ink drawing by "Wildman"

This native tree grows from 50 to 120 feet tall, with dark brown, deeply furrowed bark with flattened ridges.
Black Walnut Tree
Black Walnut Tree
The alternate, feather-compound leaves consist of 12 to 24 lance-shaped, finely toothed, narrow leaflets 3-1/2 inches long on both sides of a midrib 1-2 feet long.

Slender catkins of inconspicuous, green male flowers hand from the branches in the spring.

Black Walnut in Flower
Black Walnut Leaves and Catkins
Black Walnut Catkins
Black Walnut Catkins

Short, even less noticeable female flowers grow at the branch tips.

Black Walnut With Female Flowers
Black Walnut Female Flowers

V-shaped stigmas capture pollen, and the pear-shaped ovarys becomes the nuts.

Walnuts resembling green tennis balls 2-1/2 inches across fall to the ground in autumn.
Black Walnuts on Branch
Black Walnuts in Branch
This tree and its edible close relatives grow in the northeast, across the south, and into California.
Black Walnut Leaves with Nuts
Black Walnut Leaves with Nuts
Stomp on the nuts with old shoes over pavement to remove the green husks.
Black Walnut & Husk
Black Walnut and Husk

Note the stain on the pavement.

Black Walnut Removed from Husk
Black Walnut Removed from Husk

Wear rubber gloves or your hands will get stained (the stain fades after a few days). Let the nuts dry and mature in their shells a week or so on newspapers, eliminating the stain effect.

Black Walnut in Shell, Dry

Black Walnut in Shell, Dry
Crack the shell with a heavy-duty nutcracker, a vise, heavy hammer, or large rock.
Black Walnut Cracker
Black Walnut in Black Walnut Cracker

You can purchase this nutcracker from C.E. Potter, Sapula, Oklahoma 74066, (918) 224-0567.

Black Walnut Cracker, Close-up
Black Walnut in Black Walnut Cracker, Close-up
Black Walnut Cracking
Black Walnut Being Cracked
Black Walnut Opened
Black Walnut Cracked Open
Remove the nutmeat with a nut pick.
Black Walnut Pieces
Black Walnut Nutmeat

Enjoy these nuts raw or cooked.

Black walnuts have a strong, rich, smoky flavor with a hint of wine. Use them any recipe that call for nuts, but unless you’re featuring the black walnut's flavor, use it sparingly, or it will overpower everything else. I often combine one part black walnuts with three parts commercial (English) walnuts.

Black Walnut Tree, Bare
Black Walnut Tree, Bare

The black walnut is one of the first trees to lose its leaves in autumn.