Rethinking the history of common walnut (Juglans regia L.) in Europe: its origins and human interactions

I’ve recently co-authored this scientific paper which reveals the history of common walnut in Europe. Abstract Common walnut (Juglans regia L) is an economically important species cultivated worldwide for its high-quality wood and nuts. It is generally accepted that after the last glaciation J. regia survived and grew in almost completely isolated stands in Asia, and… Read More

Threatened walnut forests

Sheltering in the south-western Tian Shan mountains exist a unique yet threatened forest found nowhere else on Earth. These forests are the walnut-fruit forests of Kyrgyzstan. Last month I attended an international conference concerning the sustainable management of the forests (see my travel photos). The walnut-fruit forests are considered a biodiversity hotspot of global importance.… Read More

Weekly photo challenge: fall

Deep in the walnut-fruit forests of Kyrgyzstan, miles from the nearest track passable by a 4×4, I was climbing a narrow path when the family group suddenly appeared around a corner. I quickly asked (with gestures only as I don’t speak Kyrgyz) whether I could take a photo, and after Dad’s nodding approval I managed to take just two frames as they carried on past. Read More

Growing walnuts for their nuts – the cultivar revelation

One walnut tree is not necessarily the same as another walnut tree.  Many people will have planted a walnut seed in their backyard waiting hopefully for the growing tree to produce a crop of nuts.  They will appear of course, as that is the wonder of nature, but the tree may be 20 years old… Read More

Top ten tree books

I wrote this post more than five years ago, and its been one of my most popular ever since. Naturally more excellent trees books have been published in the intervening years and the list is worth updating. I’ve since written my own books so it would remiss of me not to give my own books a… Read More

Walnut: as intricate as an opium dream

“Walnut is without the question the most beautiful wood on earth, ranging from the colour of honey to the rich depth of chocolate-brown, often marked with smoky swirls and streaks of pigment from dark brown to black. The grain can be perfectly straight, elegantly swept, or a festival of waves, curls, mottles and motes, sunburst… Read More