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Caucasian Wingnut

Common Names: Caucasian Wingnut.  Botanical Name: Pterocarya fraxinifolia .

Family: Juglandaceae (walnut family) 

Characteristics: Deciduous tree full sun.   Size:  Height 30 to 60 feet,  spread 30 to 60 feet, spacing over 40 feet.   Wingnuts are deciduous trees in the walnut family with compound leaves similar to those on a walnut.   Wingnuts  get their name from the long chains of small, winged nutlets that hang from the branches. These chains sometimes stay on the tree into the winter.  Unusual among hardwoods, it doesn't have bud scales and is probably unique in that new buds arise from long stalks well above the leaf axil rather than in the axil itself.  Bark:  Dull grey, with a network of broad vertical ridges. Like all members of the Walnut family, if you cut a small branch lengthways, you will find that the pith is divided into chambers - it is solid in all other families.   Foliage: Grow alternately on the stem, are compound in shape with an average of 20 leaflets arranged oppositely on the stalk. The leaflets themselves tend to be rather broad and floppy.

Flowers and Fruit:  Female catkins are long and thread-like, between 25-50 cm, and strung with small seeds, each of which is surrounded by a whitish-green papery wing.  Bloom color is pale yellow and green and blooms in late spring/early Summer.

Natural Habitat and Adaptive Range: Stout shoots and large shiny green leaves and is usually planted near water or in damp soils where it suckers easily, often forming a thicket.  It is a relic of the Teriary flora on the southern flanks of the Caucasus Mountains and was introduced to France in 1784 and 1800 in Britain.   

Management: Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers consistently moist soils, but tolerates drought.  Tolerates hard, compacted soils and develops an extensive root system. Freely suckers. Average water needs, water regularly, do not overwater.   Possible Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Propagation: softwood cuttings. 

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