English/Persian/Carpathian Walnut (Juglans regia )
The English Walnut comes from the near east and Europe. It is the most commonly grown walnut for commercial nut production because it’s nuts are easier to shell than those of the other walnuts. The English Walnut tree happens to also make a well shaped shade tree. It can be a fast grower if taken care of properly. These trees are medium sized spreading trees that grow up to 100 feet, but usually don’t exceed 60 feet in the home landscape, a bit more human scale for the average yard. They have gray bark, large leaflets, and softer wood than found in the Black Walnut. The leaves are compound, with 5 to 9 leaflets, occasionally up to 13, arranged opposite each other along a petiole.
This tree bears clusters of small flowers called catkins. The flowers may be cross-pollinated or self-pollinated. After flowering the tree produces walnuts that have thinner shells than do the Black Walnuts and Butternuts. Three to nine nuts develop in clusters on the previous year’s branchlets. The taste of the English Walnut nut meat is mild and sweeter than the Black Walnut.
If you live in the northern part of the country and want to buy an English Walnut, be sure to get one that comes from seed from Europe rather than from California. Those trees bred in California do well in the southern warmth, but are not happy in the north. They will grow in the northern climate but they usually present an unsightly tree due to frost kill and very seldom produce a crop in the colder climate.
English Walnuts Choices
Adams is a popuar variety for cold climates to zone 4. Hansen is popular in zones 6 and 7 in the East. Chico is a favorite in the West.