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common name for some members of the Juglandaceae, a family of chiefly deciduous, resinous trees characterized by large and aromatic compound leaves. Species of the walnut family are indigenous mostly to the north temperate zone, but also range from Central America along the Andes to Argentina and through tropical Asia to Java and New Guinea.

Common Species and Their Uses

Several trees of the Juglandaceae are of commercial importance for the edible nuts and for lumber. The "nuts"(they are actually drupelike), usually enclosed in a leathery or woody hull, include many of the most valuable food nuts of the United States—the walnut and the butternut of the walnut genus Juglans and the pecan, hickory nut, pignut, and mockernut of the hickoryhickory,
any plant of the genus Carya of the family Juglandaceae (walnut family); deciduous nut-bearing trees native to E North America and south to Central America except for a few species found in SE Asia. The pecan (C.
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 genus Carya. The single-seeded nuts contain no endosperm; the edible portion is the corrugated, meaty seed leaves of the embryo itself. Lumber is obtained chiefly from Juglans, Carya, and Engelhardia. The latter genus is now restricted to East Asia, but fossil trees have been found in the United States. Species of these and other genera (e.g., Pterocarya, the Asian wingnuts) are often planted as ornamental shade trees.

The walnut genus Juglans (from Lat. Jovis glans=nut of Jove) is the largest and most widely distributed genus of the family. The dark timber of the black walnut (J. nigra), found in hardwood forests in the eastern half of North America, and of the Persian, or English, walnut (J. regia), native to W Asia, is unusually hard and durable and is valued for furniture, interior paneling, gunstocks, musical instruments, and other uses. Black walnut has been the foremost cabinet wood of North America since colonial times.

The closer-grained English walnut, usually sold as lumber under the name Circassian walnut, is widely cultivated in S Europe and the Orient and has been introduced with great success into California, now the major producing area of the world. The nut of this tree is more easily extracted from the shell than that of the black walnut and is the one usually sold commercially for use as a table nut and for confectionery, flavorings, and sometimes pickling. A decoction of the leaves, bark, and hulls has been used for a brown wool dye and the crushed leaves for an insect repellent.

The butternut, or white walnut (J. cinerea), of approximately the same range as the black walnut, has a sweet and oily nut that is gathered locally but is not of commercial importance. The butternut is also timbered; the wood is softer than that of the black and English walnuts. Sugar is sometimes obtained from its sap, and the hulls yield a yellow to gray dye that gave color to the homespun of pioneers and to the "butternut" uniforms of some Confederate soldiers. The inner root bark, called butternut bark, has been used in domestic remedies, as have the hulls of the English walnut. Other American and Old World walnuts are also used and esteemed locally for timber, dyes, and food.


The walnut family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Juglandales.

What does it mean when you dream about a walnut?

A walnut has a significant resemblance to the human brain. In a dream a walnut may indicate a great deal of mental activity is being expended or, alternatively, that someone in the dreamer’s environment is a “nut.” In some cultures, to dream of walnuts is an omen of excessive joys and favors.


The common name for about a dozen species of deciduous trees in the genus Juglans characterized by pinnately compound, aromatic leaves and chambered or laminate pith; the edible nut of the tree is distinguished by a deeply furrowed or sculptured shell.


A tough, dark brown-to-black wood having high strength; does not split easily; has a fine-to-coarse open grain; takes a high polish.


1. any juglandaceous deciduous tree of the genus Juglans, of America, SE Europe, and Asia, esp J. regia, which is native to W Asia but introduced elsewhere. They have aromatic leaves and flowers in catkins and are grown for their edible nuts and for their wood
2. the wood of any of these trees, used in making furniture, panelling, etc.
3. a light yellowish-brown colour
4. made from the wood of a walnut tree
5. of the colour walnut
References in classic literature ?
Here the Pygmies used to plant wheat and other kinds of grain, which, when it grew up and ripened, overshadowed these tiny people as the pines, and the oaks, and the walnut and chestnut trees overshadow you and me, when we walk in our own tracts of woodland.
The cowish, also, or biscuit root, about the size of a walnut, which they reduce to a very palatable flour; together with the jackap, aisish, quako, and others; which they cook by steaming them in the ground.
Near to this, in a corner, stood a heavy, old-fashioned, brass-faced clock, incased in a high box, of the dark hue of the black walnut from the seashore.
The whole coast is described as remarkably rugged and mountainous; with dense forests of hemlock, spruce, white and red cedar, cotton-wood, white oak, white and swamp ash, willow, and a few walnut.
The pass was crowned with dense, dark forest--deodar, walnut, wild cherry, wild olive, and wild pear, but mostly deodar, which is the Himalayan cedar; and under the shadow of the deodars stood a deserted shrine to Kali--who is Durga, who is Sitala, who is sometimes worshipped against the smallpox.
He brought out the check quietly but with a full consciousness that with one gesture he was shoving enough over that scratched and worn walnut counter to buy out half the bank.
Did you think you could match cunning with me--you with your walnut of a brain?
Awfully glad to meet you,' she said, cracking a walnut.
We had played at Gibraltar with balls the size of a walnut, on a table like a public square--and in both instances we achieved far more aggravation than amusement.
At the end of fifteen minutes, the carriage swung in through a stone gateway and on between a double row of arched and interlacing walnut trees.
A WALNUT TREE standing by the roadside bore an abundant crop of fruit.
They found the Princess Langwidere in her mirrored chamber, where she was admiring one of her handsomest heads--one with rich chestnut hair, dreamy walnut eyes and a shapely hickorynut nose.