Butternut Juglans cinerea
Family: Juglandaceae (Walnut)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: White Walnut


Together, Butternut and Black Walnut have very distinctive twigs.  Both are very stout (Butternut usually more so) with naked, hairy buds, and large leaf scars.  Also, they both have a very obviously chambered pith.  Differentiating the two, however can be a bit more difficult.  I find bark to be the best key, as young Butternut bark is somewhat striped (with future furrows) and Black Walnut's starts to peel very early.  Even when mature, Butternut bark always looks more "worn" with its flat-topped furrows.  Butternut is affected by a disease, "Butternut blight" which has killed enough trees to put the species on the Endangered list for Ontario.


Butternut end bud and twig.  Notice the hair, naked end bud and large leaf scar


Another view of the winter twig


The chambered pith, very obvious when the twigs are broken. (Note that Butternut pith is often a darker colour than this; many sources refer to it having a "chocolately" colour).


Young bark looks somewhat striped.


Older bark as it begins to furrow.  The tops of the furrows are flattened


A comparison of Black Walnut (left) and Butternut (right) twigs


A Black Walnut (left) and Butternut (right) growing side by side.  Notice the difference in bark at a similar size and age.




Back to the main page

copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
please email me with any questions, comments, or errors