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Black Walnut

The walnut/butternut group (Juglans spp.) contains 15 species which grow in South America [6], Eurasia [4] and North America [6]. The word juglans is the classic Latin name of walnut, meaning nut of Jupiter.

North American species of Juglans :

  • Juglans californica-California black walnut, California walnut, claro walnut, southern California walnut
  • Juglans cinerea a,b -butternut
  • Juglans hindsii-California black walnut, hinds black walnut, northern California walnut
  • Juglans major-Arizona black walnut, Arizona walnut, little walnut, Mexican walnut, western walnut
  • Juglans microcarpa-Arizona walnut, dwarf walnut, little walnut, Mexican walnut, river walnut, Texas black walnut, Texas walnut, western walnut
  • Juglans nigraa -American walnut, American black walnut, black walnut, burbank walnut, eastern black walnut, eastern walnut, gunwood, Virginia walnut

acommercial species
binformation available on a separate fact sheet

Black walnut is native to the eastern United States, from southern Minnesota east to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York; south to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama; west to Texas; and north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

The Tree
Black walnut trees reach heights of 120 ft (37 m), with a diameter of over
3 ft (1 m).

The Wood

The sapwood of black walnut is nearly white, while the heartwood is light brown to dark, chocolate brown, often with a purplish cast and darker streaks. The wood is heavy, hard, and stiff and has high shock resistance.

 Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)




x106 lbf/in2













Green 0.51 1.42 9,500 4,300 490 14.6 900 1,220
Dry 0.55 1.68 14,600 7,580 1,010 10.7 1,010 1,370
aWML = Work to maximum load.
Reference (59).

Drying and Shrinkage

Type of shrinkage Percentage of shrinkage
(green to final moisture content)
0% MC 6% MC 20% MC
Tangential 7.8 6.2 2.6
Radial 5.5 4.4 1.8
Volumetric 12.8 10.2 4.3
References: 0% MC (98),
6% and 20% MC (90).

Kiln Drying Schedulesa

Condition 4/4, 5/4, 6/4 8/4 10/4 12/4 16/4
Standard T6-d4 T3-D3 T3-D3 T3-C2 -
aReferences (6, 86).

Working Properties: Black walnut is straight grained and easily worked with hand tools and by machine. It finishes beautifully and holds paint and stain exceptionally well. It also glues and polishes well.

Durability: Rated as very resistant to heartwood decay-one of the most durable woods, even under conditions favorable to decay.

Preservation: No information available at this time.

Uses: Furniture, fixtures, cabinets, gunstocks, novelties, interior paneling, veneer.

Toxicity: No information available at this time.

Source: US Forest Service