Botanical Name

Juglans cinerea

Other Common Names

White walnut, gray walnut, lemon walnut, oil-bean-nut, oilnut.


Butternut is native to the eastern United States from Tennessee and western North Carolina north to southern Ontario and Quebec.

The Tree

Butternut trees reach heights of 100 ft, with a 3 ft diameter.


Heartwood is usually a light to medium tan, sometimes with a reddish tint.  Growth rings are darker and form fairly distinct grain patterns. Sapwood is a pale yellowish white.


Has a medium to coarse texture with open pores, similar to Black Walnut. Grain is typically straight.

Working Properties

Butternut is easily worked with both hand and machine tools. However, being so soft, Butternut has a tendency to leave some fuzzy surfaces after planning or sanding, and sharp cutters and fine-grit sandpaper is recommended. Butternut glues, stains, and finishes well. Butternut generally has a straight grain, works easily with tools, and takes a rich, lustrous finish.


Some common uses for Butternut include: veneer, carving, furniture, interior trim, boxes, and crates. Lumber, furniture, boxes, crates, mill work, veneer.


Butternut should be inexpensive, especially within its native range in the eastern United States. Supplies of butternut are rather limited and are getting even smaller. The tree is reported to be more valuable for its nuts than for its lumber.