Walnut trees are well known for their nut production and are widely cultivated for this purpose. Additionally, their wood is highly prized for its hard, dense, tight-grain and smooth finish when polished. Trees in this plant family have large, compound, often aromatic leaves. The Walnut Family Collection at The Morton Arboretum covers more than five acres and contains 15 different kinds of hardy members in three genera: walnut (Juglans), hickory and pecan (Carya), and wingnut (Pterocarya).
The majority of the hardy species in the genus Juglansare represented in our collection. For this reason the collection provides a great opportunity to survey the genus. You can find Japanese walnut (Juglans ailantifolia), butternut (J. cinerea), Arizona walnut (J. major), Manchurian walnut (J. mandshurica), little walnut (J. microcarpa), and black walnut (J. nigra). Look for cut-leaved black walnut (J. nigra 'Laciniata'). Finely divided leaves make this specimen look fern-like and delicate.
Other interesting specimens in this collection are the seven different kinds of hickories, including the native pecan (Carya illinoensis), the species that produces the edible pecan nut. Look for shagbark hickory (Carya ovata). This is one of our most distinguishable native forest trees because of its exfoliating shaggy bark.