Tree Nut Species, Varieties and Cultivars for Canada
Promoting the growing of tree nuts in Canada, and their use.
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The listing 'Nut Species, Varieties and Cultivars for Canada' of over sixty entries began in the late 1970's from the nut and nutlet trees and shrubs in Canada's Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, managed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a federal government department. The Dominion Arboretum was begun in the 1880's, and continues today. Canada has some native nut bearing plants, but many planted today are exotics. Nuts have always been important here, the Amerindians making use of most native species, and expanding the plants' natural ranges over centuries at least and maybe over millenia.

We are continually updating the list, which now has over one hundred entries with the prospect of still more to be added. New native species are still being discovered, the Bear Oak (Quercus illicifolia) being the latest, in the early 1990s.
Besides our own work, other research is underway on many species, conducted by the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG), its Eastern Chapter (ECSONG) which operates in the Eastern Ontario region, and individual members of both organizations.

Check for Canadian tree nut varieties and cultivars from Grimonut Nursery and the Rhora Nut Farm and Nursery.

The Gellatly Nut Farm in Westbank, British Columbia, which was the first breeder to originate uniquely Canadian tree nut varieties and cultivars, is now a heritage site. Besides the Dominion Arboretum, there are a number of other public and private Arboreta in Canada with nut plants to show.

Join our hunt for mature, bearing nut trees, intown and out, across Canada, and treenut harvesting, on Canada Nutist facebook...

On this present list, the Horsechestnut family, Hippocastanaceae, is represented by 10 species, varieties and cultivars, all in the single genus Aesculus.
Genus Species Common Names Family
glabraOhio BuckeyeHippocastanaceae
glabra var.monticolaOhio Buckeye, Fetid Buckeye
hippocastanum'Baumanii'Baumann Horsechestnut
hybridaHybrid Horsechestnut
octandraSweet Buckeye, Yellow Buckeye, Big Buckeye
octandra f.vestitaCarolina Yellow Buckeye
parvifloraBottlebrush Buckeye
sylvaticaPainted Buckeye
carnea (hippocastanum x pavia)Red Horsechestnut

The Birch family, Betulaceae, is represented by 10 species, varieties and cultivars. The American Hornbeam produces a nutlet. The remainder are all hazels (aka filberts), one of the most popular of nuts.
Genus Species Common Names Family
CarpinuscarolinianaAmerican HornbeamBetulaceae
americanaAmerican Hazel
avellanaEuropean Hazel
chinensisChinese Hazel
colurnaTurkish Hazel
cornutaBeaked Hazel
feroxHimalayan Hazel
heterophyllaSiberian Hazel
sieboldianaJapanese Hazel
sieboldiana var. mandschuricaManchurian Hazel
tibetiaTibetan Hazel

The Walnut family, Juglandaceae, is represented by 8 hickories, and 12 walnuts in two genera. As well as producing flavourful kernels, this family is a source of syrup, sugar, dyes, stains and valuable nutshell products.
Genus Species Common Names Family
cordiformisBitternut HickoryJuglandaceae
Walnut Family
glabraPignut Hickory
laciniosaShellbark Hickory
ovataShagbark Hickory
sinensisChinese Hickory
ovalisRed Hickory
tomentosaMockernut Hickory
ailantifoliaJapanese Walnut
ailantifolia var. cordiformisHeartnut
cathayensisChinese Walnut
buartnutButternut x Heartnut
intermedia var.vilmorinianaVilmorins Walnut
mandshuricaSiberian Walnut
microcarpaLittle Walnut, Texas Walnut, Nogal
nigraBlack Walnut
regiaPersian, English Walnut
regia var. carpathianCarpathian Walnut
stenocarpaManchurian Walnut
PterocaryafraxinifoliaCaucasian walnut

The Beech family, Fagaceae, is represented by 4 chestnuts, 4 beeches and 13 oaks. The chestnuts and oaks produce the best fruit, though acorns are not in vogue in North America much these days. The beeches produce small nuts, often sparsely, except where summers air is often misty and foggy.
Genus Species Common Names Family
crenataJapanese ChestnutFagaceae
Beech family
dentataAmerican Chestnut
mollisimaChinese Chestnut
sativaEuropean Chestnut
grandifoliaAmerican Beech
sylvaticaEuropean Beech
sylvatica 'purpurea'Purple European Beech
albaWhite Oak
alba X bebbianaBebbs Oak
bicolorSwamp White Oak
borealisNorthern Red Oak
illicifoliaBear Oak
macrocarpaBur Oak
muehlenburghiiChinkapin Oak
palustrisPin Oak
prinusChestnut Oak
roburEnglish Oak
rubraRed Oak
rubra 'Maxima'Maxima Oak
rubra 'Aurea'Golden Oak

The Ginkgo family, Ginkgoaceae,has only one species, biloba. A Ginkgo tree is either a male or a female. Though the freshly fallen fruit smell like vomit, they are easily cleaned, and the nuts are delightful. An Asiatic tree, now widely planted in southern Canada, the fruit may gain favour over time.
Genus Species Common Names Family
GinkgobilobaMaidenhair Tree, GingkoGinkgoaceae
Ginkgo Family

The Elm family, Ulmaceae, offers the genus Celtis, whose species produce a nutlet. The whole nut with its outer husk is sweet. It is easily ground into meal, and cooked in various ways, as was done by native peoples.
Genus Species Common Names Family
CeltisglabrataCaucasian HackberryUlmaceae
Elm Family
laevigata (mississippiensis)Mississippi Sugarberry
occidentalisCommon Hackberry
reticulataNetleaf Hackberry
sinensisChinese Hackberry
spinosaSpiny Hackberry
tournefortiiOriental Hackberry

The Pine family, Pinaceae, offers a number of nut or stone pines. This list only offers 5 exotics, though future research may show that the native species may be grown more widely than just in the western mountains.
Genus Species Common Names Family
PinuscembraSwiss Stone PinePinaceae
Pine Family
cembra var. sibiricaSiberian Stone Pine
koraiensisKorean Nut Pine
pumilaJapanese Stone Pine
peuceBalkan Pine
albicaulisWhitebark Pine
flexilisLimber Pine

The Rose family, Rosaceae, has few species to offer - here are two almonds that might prove fruitful.
Genus Species Common Names Family
Rose Family
armeniacaSweet Kernel Apricot

Canada Nutculture Association, Ottawa, Canada: "Progress through Research & Development"