Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Juglans manshurica
Manshurian walnut

Tag 114
54 deg 34.971N
5 deg 56.053W

The Manshurian walnut is a native of China, Russian far East and North and South Korea from where it was introduced to Western gardens in 1859.. It makes a small to medium sized tree to 25m, distinguished from Juglans regia by the very long compound leaves. These can reach over 1m in length with 7 to 19 leaflets. The flowers are wind-pollinated. The fruit is smaller than that of Juglans regia and has a very tough shell making it hard work to get enough nut to be worth eating.

It is grown as a landscape tree in the former European USSR. Examples in both Kew and Moscow Botanic Gardens are multi-stemmed, but the young tree in Belfast Botanic Gardens is developing with a single stem.

Trees of the Manchurian walnut have both male and female flowers on the same tree (ie are monoecious), but it has been shown that there are two populations; in one of which the female flowers mature before the male flowers and in the other the male flowers mature first. This reduces the chances of self-fertilization. This outbreeding mechanism was described by Darwin and is called heterodichogamy.

There is a lot of interest in the chemicals in the roots, leaves and bark of the Manchurian walnut which was used in Korean folk medicine to treat cancer. Chemicals extracted from the plant have been shown to have a toxic effect on cancer cell lines in the laboratory.

Manchurian walnut in Belfast Botanic gardens

Autumn colours of Manchurian walnut

Manshurian walnut in Belfast Botanic Gardens Autumn colour of Manshurian walnut

Pinnate leaf of Manchurian walnut

Manchurian walnut bark

Long pinnate leaves of Manshurican walnut Bark of young Manshurian walnut

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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