Promoting the growing of tree nuts in Canada, and their use.
Canada Flag

StarsEdible Tree Nuts in the City

Streetscape trees are not 'street furniture'. The city's growing trees deliver continuing health and copious wellbeing to its denizens in scores of ways. Lose your trees, and residents sicken.

The trees of the urban forests can do even more. They can produce crops. In fact, many already do: the nut trees! The tree nut crops (usually suspected by locals as poisonous) are mostly wasted to the dumpsite.

An urban forest dominated by tree nuts could be called an urban 'agroforest', able to pay for itself. These crops are a marketable (read profitable), natural resource. Tree nut crops grow overhead, out of the way, and are harvested easily off the ground when they fall fully ripened. They have been called the 'grain that grows overhead', or '3D agriculture', or '3D permaculture'; tree nuts are perfect trees and crops for cities.

Tree nuts have hundreds of uses. Here is our overview of profitable food uses and of mixed uses of our 'urbanuts'.

Many of Canada's urban forests already host many kinds of tree nuts; oaks, black walnuts, butternuts, hazels, ginkgos, horsechestnuts, buckeyes, hickories and more. (Follow our 2006 tree nut tour of centretown Ottawa. to see just a few local urban species.)

The City of Ottawa has some 200,000 public trees and ten times that many private trees, of a good dozen different species. Many thousands of these are tree nuts cropping thousands of hectoliters annually. This urban forest is already an urban agroforest, all but in name.

Increasing the portion and variety of tree nuts can only make our urban agroforest better. We double the benefit of our forest. We support evolving our cities urban forests to urban agroforests, with at least a third of the population being tree nuts.

The city of Ottawa (for example) may not be too far from this goal already! Here is an incomplete list of nut trees able to grow in Ottawa:
  • Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)
  • Aesculus glabra var.monticola (Ohio Buckeye, Fetid Buckeye)
  • Aesculus hippocastanum (Horsechestnut)
  • Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumanii' (Baumann Horsechestnut)
  • Aesculus hybrida (Hybrid Horsechestnut)
  • Aesculus octandra (Sweet Buckeye, Yellow Buckeye, Big Buckeye)
  • Aesculus octandra f. vestita (Carolina Yellow Buckeye)
  • Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)
  • Aesculus sylvatica (Painted Buckeye)
  • Aesculus carnea (hippocastanum x pavia) (Red Horsechestnut)
  • Carya cordiformis (Bitternut hickory)
  • Carya glabra var. odorata (Red hickory)
  • Carya laciniosa (Shellbark hickory)
  • Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory)
  • Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
  • Castanea mollissima (Chinese chestnut) 
  • Celtis occidentalis (Northern hackberry, nutlet)
  • Celtis tenuifolia (Dwarf hackberry, nutlet)
  • Corylus americana (American hazel)
  • Corylus chinensis (Chinese hazel)
  • Corylus heterophylla (Siberian hazel)
  • Corylus sieboldiana (Japanese hazel)
  • Corylus sieboldiana var. manchurica (Manchurian hazel)
  • Corylus avellana (European filbert) 
  • Corylus colurna (Turkish hazel) 
  • Corylus cornuta (Beaked hazel)
  • Corylus ferox (Himalayan hazel)
  • Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
  • Fagus sylvatica (European beech) 
  • Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo)
  • Juglans ailantifolia (Japanese Walnut)
  • Juglans cinerea (Butternut)
  • Juglans nigra (Black walnut)
  • Juglans regia (Persian walnut)
  • Juglans x bixbyi ECOS (Buartnut)
  • Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis (Heartnut)
  • Pinus albicaulis (Whitebark pine)
  • Pinus flexilis (Limber pine)
  • Pinus koraiensis (Korean Nut Pine)
  • Pinus cembra (Swiss Stone pine)
  • Pinus sibirica (Siberian Nut Pine)
  • Pinus pumila (Japanese Stone Pine)
  • Quercus alba (White oak)
  • Quercus bebbiana (Bebb's Oak)
  • Quercus bicolor (Swamp white oak)
  • Quercus coccinea (Scarlet oak)
  • Quercus ellipsoidalis (Northern pin oak)
  • Quercus garryana (Garry oak)
  • Quercus illicifolia (Bear Oak)
  • Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak)
  • Quercus montana (Chestnut oak)
  • Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinquapin oak)
  • Quercus palustris (Pin oak)
  • Quercus prinoides (Dwarf chinquapin oak)
  • Quercus robur (English oak)
  • Quercus rubra (Red oak)
  • Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak)
  • Quercus velutina (Black oak)

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