Butter Tree


Tylecodon paniculatus (Butter Tree)

Tylecodon paniculatus (Butter Tree) is an erect, robust succulent shrub with a caudiciform trunk, usually well-branched and up to 8.2 feet…

UNH Extension

Although butternut trees have nearly disappeared in New Hampshire, I just found one that is currently loaded with nuts. I had never noticed the nuts on the tree, and am amazed at how many grow in the huge clusters. What potential bounty! No wonder butternut trees were widely planted around early farmhouses – they were both tasty and useful.

Butternut trees were the first tree species I learned to recognize by their bark. Mature trees have thick, deeply furrowed bark that is distinctive. This revelation happened years ago when I was taking the series of classes to become a Tree Steward, now called the Natural Resources Stewards, through UNH Extension and the NH Division of Forests and Lands. Sadly, the Butternut trees that grew in the Pine Island area of Manchester where the course was taught have all died of Butternut Canker Disease, as have many of the old Butternut trees in NH. A fatal fungal disease that arrived in the US in the 60s, it has spread throughout the tree’s range.

After completing the program, I volunteered for the NH Big Tree Program and learned how to measure and track the biggest trees of each species in my county. The discovery of a former county champion butternut tree that had become a dying carcass due to Butternut Canker was sad and shocking. So when I noticed a healthy butternut tree dropping nuts onto a highway near me, I was curious enough to stop and gather up some to see if they would grow. Maybe I would discover a resistant tree! I planted several rows of the oblong nuts in the vegetable garden.

I covered the plot with chicken wire to keep the squirrels from feasting on them. I was thrilled to see sprouts the next spring healthy stout stems with tiny compound leaves unfurling. Of course I had to get the chicken wire off before the sprouts got tangled up in the wire, and I had to move the plants out of the corn patch so we could plant. I potted them up to give away. Some grew in the pots for a year or two until I could find homes for them.

I kept several and planted three on our property. The one in this photo was transplanted from the pot last summer, 2018, to replace a maple that died of fusarium wilt. I could not plant another maple because the soil was contaminated with wilt disease spores. So with Butternut saplings looking for a sunny site, I planted this tiny crooked tree seedling. It is also near a water faucet.

Deer nibble on anything in their path so I put a tomato cage around it. With generous watering, it doubled in size. The other two, not planted handy to water or my attention, hardly grew and did get nibbled by deer. My tiny tree exploded this rainy summer, and doubled in size again – it is amazing!

Butternut, like black walnut trees, are shade intolerant and grow in full sun. They can grow fast under good conditions. The large compound leaves cast dappled shade and turn yellow in the fall. Like most nut trees, they are deep rooted and not easily transplanted. Early farmers planted the nuts near farmhouses for handy fall harvesting. The oily butternuts were used in baking and candy making, especially maple-butternut candy (original butterfingers) famous in New England. Husks were used to make a soft orange/yellow dye for work clothes, and the wood was used in fine cabinetry and later for veneer.

Butternut trees are smaller than black walnuts and generally shorter lived – 75 years. But they are hardier in cold climates and are found further north in New Hampshire. The long oval-shaped nuts are an easy way to identify the tree – quite different from the round black walnuts. Both nuts have a very hard shell.

Before I planted all the nuts I gathered, it occurred to me that I should taste one, although they aren’t at all appetizing-looking in their dried-up brown husks. I rubbed off the husk and tried cracking the shell with a nutcracker with no success. Hammers make a mess and mush of the nuts, so I tried cracking it in a vise, which worked nicely. The nut was larger than expected and not at all shriveled. No odor, so I bravely tried it and found it tasty. In fact, they taste just like the name: butternut! They were more like an English walnut than the sharp distinctive taste of the black walnut. Obviously this is why butternuts were once were so popular and commonly sold in markets in the fall.

Although Butternut trees are less plentiful due to the canker, they can still be found in NH. Fall is a great time to keep a lookout for the butternuts themselves, give one a try and tell me what you think.

Peanut Butter Tree


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Apr 8, 2020, syswriter from Tucson, AZ wrote:

The botanical name for this plant is really Bunchosia glandulifera, which has leaves with wavy margins and sparse hairs on the underside. B. argentea has flat leaves with dense hairs on the underside giving a silvery appearance.

28th Nov 2019
Am RAY from Sri Lanka
I love gardening. I have grown this tree in my garden. Yummy when ripe. Tree bears pretty bunches of yellow flowers. Tree is just grown without any special care and attention in wet and dry zones. It produce lovely bunches. The seeds can be eaten and tastes better. No specific taste or odder.

On Nov 15, 2014, Guitbox from Fort Myers, FL wrote:

I love this tree! Growing nicely after almost a year. Flowered a bit once, with a few fruits (very yummy), then a much larger flowering resulting in many more fruits which are almost ripe. I couldn't get any of the seeds to germinate. From what I've read, that's typical.

On Apr 12, 2013, TheORKINMan from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

Received directly from someone in Costa Rica. Seeds sprouted en route. Seeds grow well in my area 9b. Trees are currently 1.5 years old.

On Oct 24, 2012, Karenarj from Sarasota, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

On Oct 15, 2007, sharscornr from Portland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

I am adding this note for clarification. I live in Portland, Oregon where we have "Peanut Butter Trees". I know because I have one. However, it is NOT the same as this tree. The tree I am referring to is called Japanese Clerodendrum, Peanut Butter Shrub, Harlequin Glory Bower
Clerodendrum trichotomum. The difference is that when you rub a leaf between your fingers, it smells of peanut butter. the tree is not tropical. the flowers are white or pink clusters. and the berries are dark red, almost black. I hope this helps others who are looking for information on the other "Peanut Butter Tree."

On Nov 25, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Just bought our tree from River's End Nursery in Los Fresnos, Texas. We tasted the fruit and could not believe that it tasted just like peanut butter. They sell nothing but grafted trees so ours shoudl start producing fruit within a year. The fruit is about the size of a grape so the tree does nto have to be ver large. It apparently is native to Central and South America but should take Houston weather as long as we protect it from frost. This should be a great addition to our tropical garden.

Nuts for the Far North

NOTE: We are unable to ship our trees to PO Boxes at this time.

  • 13323
  • 1 - 1 1/2' bareroot
  • Spring
  • $10.99

Product Details

Product Details

  • Botanical Name: Juglans cinerea
  • Height: 40 - 60 Feet
  • Spacing: 40 - 60 feet.
  • Depth: Same as in the nursery.
  • Spread: 40 feet.
  • Light Required: Full Sun
  • Pollinator: Plant two or more for best pollination.
  • Yield: Approximately 1 - 3 bushels at maturity. Bearing age: 8-10 years.
  • Size: 1- 1 1/2' Bareroot
  • Fruit: Dropping clusters of large, egg-shaped nuts.
  • Zone: 3-8
  • Form: Nut Tree, Nut, Tree, Butternut
  • Flower Form: Insignificant - male catkins female flower spikes.
  • Soil Requirements: Well-drained, rich, moist, deep soil.
  • Growth Rate: Slow growth rate.
  • Foliage: Medium green compound leaves turning yellow in fall.

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Question & Answers

Question & Answers

Most times, orders having items with different shipping schedules are held in full until the entire order is ready to ship based on your grow zone.

Plants will be shipped at the proper planting time for your area of the country using the shipping timeframes outlined below. We continually monitor weather conditions for extreme hot or cold and adjust shipping schedules as needed. Due to hot weather conditions, we are unable to ship most plant items in July and August.

Spring 2021 Shipping Schedule
ZONE Large Bareroots, Trees & Shrubs
1A-4A 5/3/21 - 6/4/21
4B 5/3/21 - 6/4/21
5A 4/12/21 - 6/4/21
5B 3/29/21 - 6/4/21
6A 3/15/21 - 6/4/21
6B 3/1/21 - 6/4/21
7A 2/25/21 - 6/4/21
7B 2/22/21 - 6/4/21
8A 2/18/21 - 5/14/21
8B 2/15/21 - 5/14/21
9A & B 2/8/21 - 5/14/21
10A & B 2/8/21 - 5/14/21
Last Order Date 1A-7B: 5/31/21
8A-10B: 5/10/21

The type of product you order or the weather in our area to yours may affect the anticipated shipping schedule, shifting earlier or later, depending.

Trees and shrubs are kept in the nursery row until full dormant for optimum stress protection.

In all cases, we choose the fastest, most efficient way to send your orders via the U.S. Postal Service or FedEx. Large orders or large items may be shipped to you in multiple packages.

Sorry, we cannot ship products to Hawaii, Alaska, APO/FPO or outside the contiguous United States. Please provide a street address as some products are unable to be delivered to Post Office boxes.

Growing Butternuts

It is entirely possible to start growing butternuts in your backyard, if you have a site with rich, loamy soil. The trees are vigorous and live for some 75 years.

However, the butternut tree is now a threatened species due to its susceptibility to a fungal canker disease, Sirococcus clavigignenti-jug-landacearum, also called “butter-nut canker.”

Its populations in the wild have diminished and in many places it is rare. Hybrids, where white walnut trees are crossed with Japanese walnut, are more resistant to the canker.

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