Bark: Walnut bark has deep furrows and rounded ridges, running vertically up the tree like rivers. If you pull a piece of the grayish colored bark off, it will be a chocolate brown color underneath.
Leaves: Walnut trees grow compound leaves with 15-23 leaflets that can be up to 2-feet long. But, instead of being directly across from each other, the leaflets grow up the stem in an alternating pattern like steps. Leaves emerge in late spring and turn yellow to brown in early autumn.
Fruit: Walnuts from a walnut tree grow in a large green husk, only somewhat smaller than a tennis ball. The husks when ripened fall from the tree. Eventually, the husks littering the ground around the tree with tull black and shrivel away, leaving the small black nut most people recognize as the walnut.
We rate the walnut as a first class tree based on its high demand in current markets. The wood is heavy, hard and chocolate brown with beautiful grain. Walnut is a prized wood for making flooring, gunstock, furniture and veneer.
Benefit to Forest:
Although they have a high commercial value, walnut trees are not as equally valuable to wildlife. The leaves are not often consumed by herbivores, albeit occasionally by white-tailed deer during winter. However, walnut trees grow quickly and very tall making them great shade trees. The nuts are a favorite food of squirrels, especially red and grey squirrels.
You will come across both white walnut and black walnut trees. The bark on mature white walnut trees will have white vertical stripes. The fruit of a black walnut tree is more rounded than that of a white walnut. Furthermore, black walnut trees have similar leaves but with more leaflets. White walnut is also popularly known as a butternut tree.