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FGCA > Conservation of Genetic Diversity > Species at Risk > Butternut > About Butternut

Butternut vs. Black Walnut

Butternut and black walnut are often confused. The following table illustrates some of the main differences between the two species.

  Butternut Black Walnut
Twigs
  • thick, buff-coloured
  • quite downy
  • chambered pith is dark brown
  • distinct hairy fringe above each leaf scar
  • upper margin of leaf scar straight across
  • thick, orange-brown in colour
  • slightly downy
  • chambered pith is light brown
  • no hairy fringe above leaf scar
  • upper margin of leaf scar deeply notched
Buds
  • downy
  • usually two buds above each leaf scar
  • terminal bud elongated and blunt
  • slightly downy
  • usually two buds above leaf scar
  • terminal bud rounded and blunt
Leaves
  • about 40 cm long
  • compound
  • 11-17 leaflets
  • terminal leaflets same size as other leaflets
  • leaflets are stalkless
  • quite hairy underneath
  • yellowish green
  • about 30 cm long
  • compound
  • 15-23 leaflets
  • terminal leaflet either smaller than other leaflets or missing
  • leaflets are stalked
  • slightly hairy underneath
  • yellowish green
Bark
  • ash-grey in colour and smooth when young
  • separates into wide, intersecting, flat-topped ridges on mature tree
  • light brown and scaly when young
  • changes to dark brown with deep intersecting furrows on mature tree
Fruit
  • oval in shape
  • husk smooth with dense sticky hairs
  • inner nut has jagged irregular edges
  • round in shape
  • husk slightly hairy
  • inner nut has smooth edges