Butternut: An Underused Resource in North America

in HortTechnology
Authors: M.E. Ostry1 and P.M. Pijut1
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  • 1 USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, 1992 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.

Butternut (Juglans cinerea L.) has many fine qualities as a nut species, however, it has never been commercially important. Although the nut is very edible, only a few cultivars have been selected that have desirable nut size and cracking qualities. In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic decline in the number of butternut in native stands caused to a large extent by the lack of natural reproduction and a damaging canker disease. Evidence suggests that superior, disease resistant trees can be propagated and if isolated from areas where the disease is prevalent, may remain disease-free. It is important that the remaining genetic diversity within the species is maintained. Various butternut conservation practices and research projects to restore butternut populations are underway in the United States and Canada.

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