A holy tree for the Greeks and Romans
The walnut family consists of 20 or so species. It originates from south-eastern Europe and western Asia, but is mainly cultivated in the USA, France and Italy. In these countries, it is financially important, on account of both its timber and the walnuts themselves.
Walnut trees can grow up to 30m tall. The trunk is thick and straight. Over time, its smooth surface becomes grooved and cracked. The crown is broad at the top and made up of large, shiny leaves with a pleasant scent. Walnuts are a stone fruit that grow once the tree is around ten years old. The nutshell is green initially, but when it matures it cracks open to reveal the grooved, slightly oval nut that’s popular in a number of classic dishes and as a snack.
A symbol of fertility
The walnut was a holy tree in both Greece and Rome, in ancient times. It was a symbol of fertility devoted to Artemis, Goddess of chastity and the hunt, and Diana, her Roman equivalent.
The beauty of walnut, for all to enjoy
The oil extracted from walnut is excellent for cooking and is also used in cosmetics. Its softening qualities make the skin feel beautiful, and a masque containing walnut oil is said to strengthen dry hair.