The European walnut (J. regia), or, as it is generally termed here, the Madeira nut, is one of the most common cultivated trees of Europe, where it was introduced originally from Persia. It differs from our Black walnut (which, however, it much resembles) in the smooth, grey bark of the stem, the leaves composed of three or four pair of leaflets, and in the very thin-shelled fruit, which, though not exceeding the Black walnut in size, yet contains a much larger kernel, which is generally considered more delicate in flavor. In the interior of France orchards of the walnut are planted, and a considerable commerce is carried on in its products, consisting chiefly of the fruit, of which large quantities are consumed in all parts of Europe. The wood is greatly used in the manufacture of gun-stocks, and in cabinet-making (though it is much inferior to the American walnut for this purpose); and the oil extracted from the kernel is in high estimation for mixing with delicate colors used in painting and other purposes.
The European walnut is a noble tree in size, and thickly clad in foliage. It is much esteemed as a shade tree by the Dutch; and Evelyn, who is an enthusiastic admirer of its beauties, mentions their fondness for this tree as in the highest degree praiseworthy. "The Bergstras [Bergstrasse], which extends from Heidelberg to Darmstadt, is all planted with walnuts; for as by an ancient law the Borderers were obliged to nurse up and take care of them, and that chiefly for their ornament and shade, so as a man may ride for many miles about that country under a continual arbor or close walk,-the traveller both refreshed with the fruit and shade. How much such public plantations improve the glory and wealth of a nation! In several places betwixt Hanau and Frankfort in Germany, no young farmer is permitted to marry a wife till he bring proof that he hath planted, and is the father of a stated number of walnut trees."* (* Hunter's Evelyn, p. 168.)