Black Walnut or American Walnut is a large tree of central and eastern North America which can grow well over 100 feet, but which averages fifty to seventy five feet. The trunk is straight and the crown is broad and spreading. This tree is treasured for its beauty and is grown simply as an ornamental, but even more for its edible nuts and for the quality of its wood. It is considered a pioneer species, and is shade intolerant, requiring full sun for optimal development. It favors moist habitats, and occurs along streams, floodplains and in woodlands, but is not happy in either standing water or dry, sandy areas — Black Walnut prefers deep, rich, well-drained soils. Total lifespan of Black Walnut is about 130 years. Planting a Walnut tree is an investment in the future, as the wood of a mature tree is so valuable. (Wikipedia reports a tree-poaching case, involving a 55-foot tree worth US$2,500). The wood is a favorite for cabinets, furniture, and even guns as it is hard, heavy, straight-grained, strong, shock resistant and yet can be easily split and worked. In the landscape (before harvesting!) the nuts are a food source for both humans and animals, such as squirrels, mice, and other wildlife. There are cultivars of Black Walnut developed for timber and others for seed production and still others for both. Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.