A brief introduction to the Walnut Tree
The walnut is a tree that has evolved since ancient times, was involved in history and admired for centuries. Mesapotamia is the old name for Iraq and is said to be the site of the hanging gardens of Babylon which existed in 2000BC . The Chaldean people left clay tablets which have inscriptions of walnut orchards, proving that these people knew about the value of the walnut tree.
The tree travelled rather like a nomad. The intriguing migration of the walnut ( Juglans Regia) tree seems to have come from further east of the Iranian mountains. The site of where the garden of Eden was supposed to be. Its route was west via Turkey, Greece, Italy and northwards to the British Isles and is a story in itself. The Romans were prepared to pay the Greeks for walnuts and they were part of the trade between the two countries. The first mention of the walnut in Britain was in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1567, but it is thought the Romans brought the seed to Britain. In old English the translation of the walnut was a foreign nut . In between Italy and Britain, evidence of walnuts was found near the Swiss lakes dating back from Neolithic times. The local history of its route is rather shrouded in mystery with only a few clues to lift the fog of knowledge.
The Black walnut, on the other hand, is a native of Eastern America, but found in California China, India, as far south as New Zealand and sparsely in Britain . This is again a story of a remarkable migration . The walnut has, through history been extremely useful to people.
Food is of course the first use that comes to mind. Waldorf salads, beetroot salads walnut whips, walnut cakes and many other recipes are all food we enjoy. The green walnut can be pickled or indeed turned into a liqueur or a Ketchup.
After the tree has been felled. The planking can be used in building and furniture.
The root and grafted area where the trunk joins the root can be turned into veneers for Jaguar motor cars or quality furniture. Another use is the making of gunstocks. Often, the stocks have a pattern of smoky shapes which are truly artistic.
The walnut appears in Art such as some still life pictures of merit by Giacomo Ceruti, Jean-Simeon Chardin, William van Aelst and in Lambert Barnards protest painting in Chichester Cathedral.