Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Wingnuts

Pterocaryas + Platycarya

A genus ( tribe ) including 10 trees + related Platycarya. All are native to temperate regions of Asia though are easily grown in North America and Europe.
The large pinnate leaves appear early in spring but unfortunately often don't show much color in the autumn. They are excellent shade trees, typically unblemished, leafy and verdant green all summer long.
They prefer deep, fertile, moist well drained soil in full sun.
Can be propagated from cuttings, suckers or seed which should be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing.

Platycarya stobilacea ( Coned Wingnut )
A medium to large sized, dome-canopied tree reaching 60 feet or more that is native to much of China, Korea and Japan. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 3 feet; largest on record - 80 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. A large tree grows at Arnold Arboretum in Boston, MA.
The pinnate leaves up to 12 inches in length are composed of up to 7 to 15 ( rarely up to 23 ), sharply-toothed, taper-pointed leaflets up to 5 x 1 inch in size. The leaflets are unstalked and are hairy at first becoming smooth on both sides. The handsome foliage is deep green during summer turning to yellow in autumn.
The flowers are yellow upright catkins born on clusters at the branch tips during early to mid summer.
They are followed by brown, conelike fruits up to 1.5 inches in length that persist over the winter.
The longitudinally-fissured bark is yellowish-brown.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 preferring full sun and moist, deep, fertile, well drained soil. Heat tolerant and thrives in much of the eastern U.S.

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Wash. DC




* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


Pterocarya fraxinifolia ( Caucasian Wingnut )
Native from northern Iraq to the Caucasus though often planted over much of Europe; this is a very large, fast growing, dome-canopied tree to 100 feet in height or often more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet with 1.5 inch trunk diameter increase; 10 years - 50 x 30 feet; 20 years - 82 feet; 230 years - trunk diameter of 8 feet; largest on record - 130 x 117 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet. Some very large trees grow at Cave Hill Cametary in Louisville, KY; Monticello in Charlottesville, VA ( diameter 7.5 feet ) and Brooklyn Gardens in New York City. Moderately long-lived, it can persist up to 260 + years. The Caucasian Wingnut is an excellent shade tree.
The pinnate leaves, up to 28 inches in length, are composed of 11 to 27 leaflets up to 9 x 2 inches in size. The glossy deep green foliage turns to yellow during autumn. The leaf rachis is not winged.
The yellow-green to yellow, hanging flower catkins are up to 20 inches in length.
The decorative fruits are small and winged along hanging catkins up to 20 inches in length.
The bark is smooth and whitish gray; becoming deeply furrowed as the tree ages.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 and likes moist soil.

* photos taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

* historic archive photos


Pterocarya hupehensis ( Hubei Wingnut )
A large, deciduous tree, reaching a maximum size of 80 x 70 feet, that is native to central China.
The pinnate leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are composed of oblong or elliptical leaflets up to 5 x 2 inches in size. The rachis is winged. The bright green foliage turns to bright yellow during autumn.
The hanging flower spikes, up to 12 inches in length, appear with the new foliage during late spring.
They are followed by hanging fruiting spikes, up to 18 inches in length, during late summer.
The bark is deeply furrowed.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in full sun on moist to wet soil.

Pterocarya macroptera
A medium-sized, decidous tree, reaching a maximum height of 82 feet, that is native to central China.
The huge tropical-looking pinnate leaves are up to 64 ( rarely over 32 ) inches in length. They are composed of 7 to 13 elliptical leaflets, up to 10 x 2.3 ( rarely over 7.5 ) inches in size. The leaf rachis is not winged.
The hanging flower spikes appear during late spring.
They are followed by hanging fruiting spikes up to 28 inches in length, during late summer.
The bark is dark brown.
Hardy zone 5b to 9.

Pterocarya paliurus ( Roundleaf Cyclocarpa )
A tall tree native to southern China that can reach a maximum height of 100 feet.
The leaves up to 10 inches long are composed of up to 11 oblong leaflets up to 6 x 2 inches in size.
The flower clusters are up to 10 inches in length.
Hardy north to zone 6

Pterocarya x rehderiana ( Hybrid Wingnut )
The hybrid between Pterocarya fraxinifolia & P. stenoptera. This is one of the fastest growing of all deciduous trees and can easily exceed 100 feet with a broad spreading canopy. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 8 feet; 17 years - trunk diameter of 2 feet; 17 years - 2 feet in trunk diameter; 20 years - 82 feet; 30 years - 2.7 feet in trunk diameter; 40 years - 100 feet tall; 50 years - 3.5 feet in trunk diameter; largest on record - 130 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet. A very handsome tree, it grows with a massive lushly foliaged domed canopy.
The leaves, up to 18 inches in length, are composed of 11 to 21 untoothed leaflets. The glossy deep green foliage turns to yellow during autumn. The leaf rachis has wings that are narrow and upright.
The leafstalks are winged.
The long drooping catkins appear in early spring and later turn into a long string of "wingnuts" up to 18 inches long.
The purple-brown bark has interlacing ridges and pale orange fissures.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 and is very drought tolerant. Prefers deep, rich well drained soil and can sucker heavily in sandy soil. Propagated either from suckers in autumn or softwood cuttings in summer.

Pterocarya rhoifolia ( Japanese Wingnut )
A handsome, dome-shaped, very large, deciduous tree, reaching up to 80 + feet, that is native to northern & central Japan and neighboring Shandong Province in China. It is usually found on riverbanks and bottomlands in the wild. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 5 feet; 20 years - 66 feet; largest on record - 100 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 feet. A tree at Mount Hakkoda in Japan has reached 100 feet. A massive tree 70 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 6.6 feet is reported to grow at the Hort Station west of St. Catherines, Ontario.
It is a popular street tree in China and has handsome foliage but invasive roots.
The leaves, up to 20 inches in length, are composed of 11 to 21 finely-toothed, taper-pointed, oblong leaflets up to 5 x 1.6 inches in size. They are finely-downy at first turning smooth glossy mid-green during summer. The leaves finely turn to yellow during autumn. The leaf rachis is not winged and the leaflets are unstalked.
The fruits are green winged small nuts stringed along hanging catkins up to 20 inches long.
The vertically fissured bark is dark gray.
Hardy zones 4 to 9, it has suffered occasional winter damage at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada but always recovers quickly and reached 30 feet there. Flood tolerant and an excellent tree for use on flood plains. Highly recommended in the Midwest as an Ash substitute.

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on Jul 19 2017 @ Major's Hill Park, Ottawa, ON


Pterocarya stenoptera ( Chinese Wingnut )
A very attractive, very fast growing, very large, deciduous tree that is a widespread native to China. Old trees tend to be very massive, sturdy and heavy-set. Some records include: 6 years - 25 x 25 feet tall with a diameter of 14 inches; 20 years - 82 feet; largest on record - 100 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 9 feet! The largest known tree in Pennsylvania grows at Westtown School near Philly. The Chinese Wingnut can live up to 400 years.
The pinnate leaves, up to 18 inches in length, are composed of 11 to 25 elliptical leaflets, up to 6 x 2 inches in size. The foliage is downy at first, turning to bright green. The leaves often turn to yellow during autumn. The leaf rachis is winged. The foliage appears earlier than most trees during spring.
The winged fruits are borne on a hanging stalk, to 15 inches in length, ripening during autumn.
The deeply fissured bark is brown.
Hardy zones 3b - 9 ( tolerating -36 F possibly even lower for seed source from Liaoning Province ) in full sun to partial shade preferring a deep, fertile, well drained soil and can tolerate temporary flooding. It thrives over most of temperate North America, even in harsh South Dakota and even parts of Saskatchewan as well as hot humid northern Florida. They are best trained to a central leader when young. Chinese Wingnut can be raised from seed but are also easily raised from cuttings taken in June and planted out in fall when they are 12 inches tall. Most people in the U.S. have never seen this tree however it is truly beautiful and should be used more especially on floodplains and in parks.


* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.






* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA


* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario



* photo taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


subsp 'Brevifolia'
A shorter leaf composed of fewer leaflets.

Pterocarya tonkinensis ( Tonkin Wingnut )
A large shade tree reaching a maximum size of 100 feet that is native to Vietnam, Laos and Yunnan Province in China. Very fast growing, it can reach up to 13 feet in 3 years.
The pinnate leaves up to 8 inches in length are composed of up to 20 ovate or elliptical leaflets up to 7 x 3 inches in size. It is similar in appearance to P. stenoptera but that leaf rachis is not winged.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 and thrives in the hot humid summers of the southeast U.S. Flood tolerant.

* photo of unknown internet source

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