Table of content A-Z


black walnut


Botanical name: Juglans nigra


The black walnut is closely related and very similar to the walnut, but in Germany it is less well-known. The name refers not to the fruit but to the bark of the tree, which is darker than that of the walnut and the butternut. Its characteristics are for the most part comparable to those of the walnut. Therefore, only the features that differ from those of its relatives are found on this page. For further information, please read the article about the walnut.

The black walnut originated in eastern North America and is cultivated mainly there. Some considerable stands are found today in the forests of the Rhine and the Danube areas, but the use of the fruits for consumption is of no importance here. In general, the black walnut is planted because of its handsome appearance.


The fruits mature in September and October.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Like the walnut, the kernel of the black walnut is covered with a green to black-brown outer shell, but this is not smooth like that of its relative but rough. Therein is the kernel, contained in a hard nutshell. This has longitudinal parallel grooves, while the walnut appears wrinkled. The whole fruit with its outer shell is round and almost the size of a peach. The seed is slightly heart-shaped and more round than that of the walnut. Fresh fruits smell somewhat musty; their taste is aromatic.

Presumed effect on health

Tannins extracted from the outer shell and the rind are helpful to counteract tapeworms and constipation. They are used topically for various skin disorders such as warts, herpes and psoriasis. These substances are also present in walnuts but in much smaller amounts.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Owing to its thick shell, the fruit of the black walnut cannot be opened with a normal nutcracker. For this reason it is hardly ever sold in the USA for direct consumption. The oily seeds set free with special crackers are used in the confectionery business and to make ice cream.

However, the black walnut serves mainly as a park tree or provides wood for furniture.





  This article was written by




  With the website the Fritz Terfloth Foundation of Münster offers consumers independent and competent information about plant foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. Information about the conditions for use of the texts by third parties can be found here.