Butternuts

The tropical storm with all the vowels in its name brought down a lots of branches in the city last week. Green-Wood Cemetery was closed for two days for clean up. Some whole trees were uprooted as well, and some weakened ones snapped.

One was this butternut, Juglans cinerea. Already a shadow of its former self — that’s the pre-storm stump there on the right — it’s definitely taken a powder now.
Just look at this leaf! My boot is about a foot long.
Elsewhere in the cemetery: this sapling, which looks like hell.
I don’t know what this crud is. Let me know if you know. The butternut canker fungal disease, which has killed approximately 80% of the butternuts in their native range (eastern North America) doesn’t, as far, as I can tell, hit the leaves. Again, correct me if I’m wrong.
Here, at least, is one fine specimen.
The nuts, which which are supposed to be delicious, mature earlier than our native black walnuts (Juglans nigra).
These aren’t very oblong, are they? The fruits are supposed to ridged, too. So could this tree mislabeled? Or is it some kind of hybrid with black walnut? (The husks have a wonderful lemony odor, btw; but watch out: it has been used as a dye and can stain your skin.)
The sound of gnawing and husk-fall could be heard before I spotted a couple of squirrels up in the branches munching away.

1 Response to “Butternuts”


  1. 1 Ewa K. August 10, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Matthew. We also have damage and broken branches in Manhattan Beach. Many trees if not most, look poor and ruffled. They seem to be more brittle nowadays. I started reading about dicamba drift, and also lawn herbicide use in general this spring and am taking pictures of the stunting, die back, curling leaves, stunted leaves and deformations in our street trees. Can you please look out if you see any strange symptoms in the trees in Greenwood where you are out? Some seem more sensitive than others.
    In our neighborhood it looks like in time there will be no trees left alive at all. Some of it is for sure because of the lawn herbicides used by the lawn services but now I also think we might be getting that stuff as drifts from far away regions as well.


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