Walnut trees have a distinctive shape and form, and are easy to spot in late Spring or early Summer because they come into leaf very late.
When the leaves first open they are dark in colour and have an apple-like smell. It was believed that the scent kept flies away: walnut trees were planted in the yard at Lissan House near Cookstown where carriage horses were changed.
Walnuts are not rare but many old trees have been lost in recent years. There are two fine specimens in Armagh outside the old workhouse, several near Castlewellan and in Belfast. The largest may be the walnut with a girth of 11’ 5” in the garden of Allan Lodge in Seaforde Village, Co. Down (this is a private house but the tree may be seen from the main road and footpath).
In good cropping years, the Seaforde walnut bears hundred of nuts. Enclosed in green cases, the walnut shells harden and inside is the twin nut with its curious brain-like convoluted shape. They taste delicious.