Montreal In The Fall 13

I am really familiar with the next tree which the Montreal Arboretum wants to feature on its Autumn Foliage Walk. It’s the walnut and some of my family have owned a small, organic walnut orchard for almost 45 years in California. There, both black walnuts and English walnuts are grown. The trees have different habits and sizes and the nuts taste slightly different, too.

Station 5: Walnuts

When you see the squirrels busily gathering what look like greenish-yellow golf balls, you’ll know you’ve reached the walnuts!

These huge trees grow in rich, well-drained soil, and need plenty of sun, but they secrete a toxin called juglone from their roots, which inhibits the growth of many competitors, although grass grows decently.

In Canada, black walnuts (Juglans nigra) occur naturally only in southern Ontario, but the trees are now found throughout southern Quebec, because they were planted as ornamentals and in test plantations for producing that noble wood, for furniture-making. These trees have a finer leaf than their cousins, which have wider, flatter, larger leaves.

English walnuts (Juglans regia) are originally from Europe, and they produce the famous nuts (and a lighter wood than black walnuts). These famous nuts are high in vegetarian Omega-3 essential fatty acids, the same nutrition that people seek out from wild salmon. These are critical nutrients to have in one’s daily diet. Hemp seed and flax seed have some of these important EFAs, too.

Martel Butternuts (Juglans cinerea), the only walnuts native to Quebec, also have high-quality wood and nuts, but are less widely used than black and English walnuts. They are a hardier tree, however.

Butternut trees in Canada and the United States are threatened by an infection caused by a fungus (Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum) that can seriously damage and even kill them. Scientists at Purdue University in Indiana are trying to produce a disease-resistant cultivar, with the goal of restoring the species to its historic range throughout the Eastern United States and some nearby Canadian provinces.

Walnuts change to a buttery yellow foliage in fall. The green husks around the nuts split open and the encased hard nut falls or rolls free. With a slight brush-off, you’ll be holding the large familiar nut you see in markets. They are very strong shells, especially the black walnuts, which really require a hardy nut-cracker!

Larches: Larch Walk Montreal Botanical Garden

Maples: Maple Walk – Montreal Arboretum

Oaks: Montreal Oak Leaf Walk

Mountain Ash: Mountain Ash Montreal

Montreal Botanical Garden – get a map online, too.

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