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Video:How to Identify Trees in the Walnut Family

with Meghan Field

A number of easily identified trees fall under the umbrella of the walnut family. Here's a video explaining how to identify specific members of the walnut tree family.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Identify Trees in the Walnut Family

Hi, I'm Meghan Field, an air quality specialist in California with a background in forestry and natural resources, and I'm here today for About.com and we're going to talk about how to identify trees in the walnut family.

Identifying Black Walnut Trees

Walnut trees are native to North America and grow mostly in riparian zones, or the interface between land and a river or stream. There are many species of walnut tree, all of which have very similar characteristics. Let's take a closer look. One of the most common walnut trees is the black walnut. This tree has pinnately compound leaves that are lance-like, or egg-shaped leaves, and are alternate on the main stem. The tree can also grow to be over 100 feet tall. The bark of this tree is thick, dark brown-to-black in color, and deeply furrowed. You can also identify the walnut tree by their fruit, a spherical nut that is surrounded by a fleshy husk.

Value of Walnut Trees

Walnut trees are often thought to be one of the most valuable tree species in the world. Besides wood products, they produce edible nuts, wildlife food, and help to enrich and protect the soil in which they are planted. Walnut trees also have long lives, with some exceeding 200 years of age. There are six species of walnut trees in the United States, and approximately 15 worldwide.

Other Types of Walnut Trees

Also falling under the walnut family umbrella, or Juglandaceae, are pecans and hickories, as well as the Persian walnut, all of which fall under the Fagales order. These trees, like the black walnut, produce nuts, are wind-pollinated, and are native to North American riparian zones, although they can thrive in different environments as well. If you've ever had a walnut, it's fairly easy to identify the tree from which it comes, although its unique bark and leaves are good indicators.

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