Heartnut Hybrids - The hardy walnut for the Northeast

Heartnut Hybrids - The hardy walnut for the Northeast

Heartnuts (juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis) are single lobed walnuts.  Much like the “English” walnuts (juglans regia) that have a round thin but a dimply shell with two lobes (or two halves), the Heartnut has a thin shell but with only one lobe and the shell varies from dimply to smooth. The shape can be very much like the heart shape we see on Valentine ’s Day cards and the shells are sought after for crafts of that ilk. The heartnut readily hybridizes with any other walnut with many combinations and resulting nut shapes that potentially can deliver a very cold hardy nut for the northeastern US and Canada.  Heartnut doesn’t suffer the blight that “English” walnuts suffer with our wetter and more humid conditions that the “English” walnut was originally from.  Also, the Japanese heartnut has much more cold tolerance than the “English” walnut and more cold tolerant than the Carpathian walnuts sourced from the Polish highland mountain sides.  Heartnuts and hybrids have a nice large leaf tropical look and are a wonderful specimen tree.  You need two trees for pollination.  When mature the trees have a round to oval shape canopy at 35 to 45 foot tall. Another wonderful thing about heartnut and their hybrids is the nut cracks out easily and often in whole nuts.

Above is a comparison of chestnut, hazelnut, black walnut, English walnut to the heartnut and its hybrids.  Heartnut is a mild flavor nut.  Very similar to the English walnut without the tannin bitterness.  The hybrids take on the flavor of what they are hybridized with but making it mellower.

We are now offering, after 25 years of culling out the weaker trees, the seedlings of our heartnut hybrids that have proven to be hardy and disease resistant enough to survive our windy hillsides of upstate New York.

An English walnut (variety named Hanson) in the foreground that is barely alive after 22 years and a very happy and hearty Japanese walnut hybrid in the background.