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

Fragrant and odiferous trees

Trees are beautiful to the eye but their smell is often overlooked. I don’t mean the obvious showy flowering trees but the hidden olfactory wonders in leaf, bark and seed. Here are my favourite Fragrant trees, and some less popular Odiferous trees. Fragrant trees The fresh needles of the European larch (Larix decidua) in Spring,… Read More