One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey,

These long, long leaves may not be too familiar to many of you…but we squirrels love them. What tree is it?

Mystery # 133

Check back with you later!

~~~

Difficult one today, huh?

These very chewed up leaves of the Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra, are compound leaves and look pretty much like Ash, Tree of Heaven and Sumac tree leaves, so we squirrels don’t blame you for your confusion. Also like the last two of these, the walnut likes sun and will grow along the edges of woods. But the thing that makes walnut trees oh so much better than those other species, is hitting the ground right now.

Eastern Black Walnut

You guessed it, walnuts!

Now the Black Walnut’s nut arrives in a pretty nasty hull. It falls, green and hard, and starts to rot on the ground, turning into a sticky black mush that will leave your paws black, too. In fact, we squirrels have heard tell that these hulls were used by humans as a dye. It doesn’t come out.

The smart thing to do is leave those walnuts on the ground–wherever they fall–until the fall rains wash off the hull.

Eastern Black walnuts collecting on ground

I did spy a clever chipmunk raiding the nut meats from the crushed walnuts that fell in the street in our neighborhood and were run over.

DSC08270

We collect them, chew through the very hard shell and devour the nut meat. It has a strong taste which isn’t for everyone.

Happily, that just means more for us squirrels!

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2 thoughts on “One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

  1. Our squirrels around here have been carrying walnuts around for a couple weeks. The neighbor has a big old tree and I find parts of shells all over my back yard. You squirrels have some pretty strong teeth to be able to get into those shells, cos they are hard!

  2. I have a taste for walnuts from my childhood. My dear maternal grandfather, long gone now, used to crack them for the two of us when I joined him in his woodworking shop. There we shared quiet conversation and the flavorful snack while he demonstrated his hobbyist talents. Thank you for the fond memories.

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