Chinese wingnut, or Pterocarya stenoptera, is a member of the walnut family -Juglandaceae and grows 50 to 80 foot tall with an impressive rounded form. And though it lacks colorful bloom and blazing autumn color, it is, nonetheless, one of the most handsome shade trees available. This deciduous tree has rough bark and massive branches that make it as wide as it is tall creating a majestic form. The coarse foliage is typical of Hickories and Walnuts. Leaves are 6 to 12 inches long and composed of 11 to 25 finely-toothed leaflets. And there are the beautiful 12 inch long seed clusters which start out a pale lime green which dance against the darker foliage. They clusters turn a soft yellow in autumn and will drop in winter. Another asset of Chinese wingnut is its fantastic growth rate. It can reach 20 feet in less than 5 years and is an ideal choice not only for an impressive tree but certainly one that is not commonly found. Its size, of course, restricts it to larger gardens and country properties but it is also planted as a boulevard tree in both China and California.

Chinese wingnut needs full sun for its dramatic growth and moist soil, and would do well along a pond or stream. It is also tolerant of drought, compacted soil and heavy clay. It withstands temperatures down to -10 Fahreneheit and is well adapted to the southern half of the US and the moderate coastal areas. It does well in the UK and New Zealand and is very well accommodated to Australia. There are no pests or disease problems. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.


Chinese wingnut

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