11 Walnut Tree Species

Black Walnut, Butternut, and More

The botanical name for the walnut tree genus is Juglans, which translates to "Jupiter's nut." It belongs to the Juglandaceae family, which also includes hickories and pecans (Carya spp.). Walnut trees are monoecious, meaning a single tree contains both male (catkin) and female (pistillate) flowers, allowing the trees to self-pollinate. Nut production is best when walnut trees of different cultivars are planted in groups, as is typically done in walnut groves cultivated for nut production.

When choosing a walnut tree for planting on your property, look closely at the recommended U.S. Department of Agriculture zones as well as the tree height and normal exposure type. It is important to choose the plants around your walnut trees carefully. This genus produces a toxin called juglone that can be harmful to the plants around it in varying degrees, through an effect known as allelopathy. Make sure any surrounding or companion plants you are considering are not prone to juglone toxicity.

  • 01 of 11

    Andean Walnut

    Nogal en Fragen
    horrabin/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The Andean walnut tree is a slow-growing tree that can get up to 130 feet tall. It has grooved, red-brown bark and an oval-shaped canopy.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans neotropica
    • Other Common Names: Tropical walnut, Colombian walnut, nogal, Ecuadorian walnut, nogal Bogotano
    • Native Area: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
    • USDA Zones: Likely 10 and 11
    • Height: Up to 130 feet
    • Exposure: Full to partial sun; cannot grow in shade
  • 02 of 11

    Arizona Black Walnut

    Juglans major (Arizona Walnut). Morton Arboretum acc. 614-47*1. 52 years old at this photo, grown from seed.
    Bruce Marlin/Wikimedia Commons/CC 3.0

    In moist conditions, the tree features a single, stout trunk. In drier conditions, there are usually several slender trunks.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans major
    • Other Common Names: Arizona walnut, nogal, New Mexico walnut, mountain walnut, River walnut, nogal silvestre
    • Native Area: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah
    • USDA Zones: 6 to 10
    • Height: Up to 50 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 03 of 11

    Black Walnut

    Black Walnut nut and leave detail
    MONGO/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    The walnuts from this tree are cultivated for their distinctive and desirable taste. These trees are also grown for its lumber. Many cultivars of this tree have been developed for improved quality nuts or wood.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans nigra
    • Other Common Names: Eastern black walnut, American walnut
    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 50 to 120 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 04 of 11

    Brazilian Walnut

    Walnut tree in a field
    George Slickers/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons 2.5

    J. australis is a spreading deciduous tree, up to 80 feet wide, which produces first quality lumber, with its trunk straight up. The immature and mature fruits of this tree are also consumed.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans australis
    • Other Common Names: Nogal criollo, tropical walnut
    • Native Area: Argentina and Bolivia
    • USDA Zones: Unknown
    • Height: Up to 82 feet
    • Exposure: Likely full sun
    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Butternut

    A butternut on a tree branch
    Modal jig/Wikimedia Commons/CC 3.0

    J. cinerea is a deciduous tree growing up to 60 feet tall. Butternut is a slow-growing species that rarely lives longer than 75 years. 

    • Botanical Name: Juglans cinerea
    • Other Common Names: Oilnut, white walnut, long walnut
    • Native Area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Height: 40 to 60 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 06 of 11

    California Black Walnut

    California Black Walnut in Puente Hills.
    Animalparty/Wikimedia Commons/CC 2.5

    The California black walnut can be either a large shrub with 1 to 5 trunks or a small, single-trunked tree. The main trunk can fork close to the ground. It has deeply channeled thick bark that furrows with maturity.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans californica
    • Other Common Names: Southern California black walnut, California walnut, Southern California walnut
    • Native Area: California
    • USDA Zones: 8 to 10
    • Height: 15 to 40 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 07 of 11

    English Walnut

    An english walnut tree in an open field
    Thesupermat/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY S.A. 3.0

    This tree is an Old World walnut tree that is called the English walnut, but it actually comes from China. This tree's history reaches back to stories involving Alexander the Great when he first introduced this tree as Persian in origin.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans regia
    • Other Common Names: Persian walnut, common walnut, Carpathian walnut
    • Native Area: Europe and Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 9
    • Height: 65 to 115 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 08 of 11

    Hinds' Black Walnut

    California Black Walnut in Puente Hills.
    Animalparty/Wikimedia Commons/CC 2.5

    Juglans hindsii has only one confirmed native stand remaining. It is considered seriously endangered in California. It is threatened by hybridization with orchard trees, urbanization, and habitat conversion to agriculture.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans hindsii or a variety of Juglans californica
    • Other Common Names: Northern California walnut
    • Native Area: California
    • USDA Zones: 7 to 10
    • Height: 30 to 60 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Japanese Walnut

    Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia) in flower
    Tahirs/Wikimedia Commons/CC 1.0

    This is a deciduous tree growing up to 65 feet tall with light grey bark. The male flowers are yellow-green catkins produced in spring when new foliage appears. The female flowers have pink or reddish pistils.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans ailantifolia
    • Other Common Names: Heartnut, which is specifically Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis, though some set it as its own species (Juglans cordiformis). Siebold walnut is another possible common name for the Japanese walnut.
    • Native Area: Japan
    • USDA Zones: 4–7
    • Height: Usually 40–65 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 10 of 11

    Manchurian Walnut

    Manchurian Walnut on a tree branch
    Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.5

    The tree is exceptionally hardy (down to at least -50 F), has a relatively short vegetation period compared to other walnuts, grows rapidly and is cultivated as an ornamental in colder temperate regions all over the Northern Hemisphere. Its nuts are edible but small and difficult to extract.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans mandshurica
    • Other Common Names: Chinese walnut
    • Native Area: China, North Korea, South Korea, and Russian Far East
    • Height: Up to 82 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 11 of 11

    Texas Black Walnut

    Texas black walnut
    Jerry Friedman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    This is a large shrub or small tree (average 10 to 30 ft tall) which grows wild along streams and ravines.

    • Botanical Name: Juglans microcarpa. It may also be known as Juglans rupestris or Juglans nana.
    • Other Common Names: Texas walnut, little black walnut, nogalito, river walnut, little walnut, dwarf walnut, nogal, Mexican walnut
    • Native Area: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
    • USDA Zones: Likely 5 to 7
    • Height: 15 to 50 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade