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The Butternut Tree faces imminent extinction

Most trees in Ontario are infected. One third may have already died.

Butternut tree and leaves

The Butternut is a medium-sized tree (Juglans cinerea) which is also known as White Walnut or Lemon Walnut. It is easily recognized by its compound leaves, which are made of 11 to 17 opposite leaflets. The fuzzy husk on its nuts is light green, sticky and contains a single seed which is edible.

Nut of the Butternut (White Walnut / Lemon Walnut)

The Butternut is classified as “Endangered” in Ontario. This means that it lives in the wild but is facing imminent extinction. It is disappearing rapidly due to the Butternut Canker, a lethal fungal disease which can kill a tree within a few years. Most trees in Ontario are infected and possibly around one-third have already died.

The Butternut grows in Southern and Eastern Ontario and lives in our area. It prefers moist, well-drained soil but is also found on dry, rocky sites along sunny openings on forest edges.

A Butternut Conservation Program exists in Ontario because it is an Endangered Species.

What can we do here in the Upper Rideau area to help with the recovery of the Butternut?

  1. Learn about the Butternut Recovery Program of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA).

  1. Report a Butternut Tree on your property on iNaturalist. Download the app and easily upload your observations of this tree and other species.

  1. Plant a Butternut seedling or volunteer to help collect seeds. Contact Rose Fleguel, Butternut Recovery Technician at RVCA.

Here is a YouTube video about Rose and the Landowner Tree Giveaway of Butternut seedlings:

The RVCA's unique butternut recovery program starts with locating healthy, disease-tolerant trees from which to collect seeds for cultivation. This hand-selection means seedlings planted as part of the RVCA's Species at Risk compensation program are far more likely to survive long-term, and to in turn help re-populate the landscape with healthy butternut trees.

More information:

Help us save local species at risk

If you are interested in local Species at Risk and Invasive Species, consider volunteering with URLA.

Contact Trudy Counter at



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