Leaves and fruit of black walnut | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida
The black walnut has long been recognized as one of the most valuable North American trees. Unfortunately, ruthless cutting has caused its almost complete extinction in certain areas - making it one of the scarcest and most coveted native hardwoods.
American colonists used the wood for fence rails and fuel. The master craftsmen of Queen Anne discovered the wood's excellent potential in cabinetry during Colonial times. During the Civil War, the wood was used in the manufacture of gunstocks. Later, in the First and Second World Wars, it was used for both gunstocks and airplane propellers.
Today, about 65 percent of the annual wild harvest comes from Missouri.