How to Identify Black Walnut Trees

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The black walnut tree has several uses, including dyeing clothes and other woods. Walnuts are also used for food, while the wood is used by furniture shops. It may often seem difficult to identify black walnut trees in the wild, however it is a fairly simple process if you know what to look for. Black walnut trees lose their leaves in the fall, but by examining the bark and leaf scars you still should be able to identify the black walnut in the winter months. Follow a simple step-by-step process to quickly and easily identify black walnut trees.

  • Examine the tree's bark. Black walnut trees will have furrowed, dark bark with a leathery texture. If the tree has lost its leaves already, examine the length of each limb and identify the "leaf scars" or the small scars left in the bark when the leaves fall off. Each scar will look like an upside down shamrock in the black walnut species.

  • Examine the tree's leaves if present. Black walnut trees have pinnate leaves, which are groups of leaves opposite one another along the shaft of the limb. They will be in groups of five to 25 leaflets.

  • Examine the tree's limbs or shoots. Black walnut shoots will have a center filled with a soft, loosely packed substance known as "pith," which is characteristic of this species.

  • Look for black walnuts. Walnuts are large nuts with a green hull that eventually turns a dark brown or black as the nut ages.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid getting black walnut juice on your clothes. It's extremely difficult to remove.

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