The English Walnut
Also Known As The Persian Walnut, California Walnut, The Common Walnut or Juglans Regia
Many Names, One Amazing Flavor
When we talk about the English walnut in Europe or the California Walnut in the United States, we are almost certainly referring to the nut that was previously known as the Persian walnut. And all these names refer to nuts that come from the juglans regia tree, the latin name for the walnut tree.
In the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great introduced the walnut to Macedonia and the walnut became known in the ancient world as the “Persian Nut”. Later English traders would bring the walnut to European markets and thus the name today “English Walnut”, despite the fact that the walnut is not native to England. History enthusiasts can read the History of the Walnut to learn about its origins in Persia and how it came to be known as the English walnut, but for the rest of us who are just looking for a great flavorful nut to eat, you just need to know that all these names refer to the nut from the juglans regia tree.
English Walnut: Names Around the Globe
In England the English walnut is called the common walnut.
In Spain and Latin America the walnut is known simply as the “nut” or “common nut”.
Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, California growers banded together to form the California Walnut Board, a trade organization that has had much success in rebranding the English walnut as the “California Walnut” in the United States.
It is important to note that all these names refer to the same tree and thus the same fruit with the same great taste. There is no genetic difference between an English walnut and a California walnut.
The real difference in walnut taste, shape, color, and size is due to the difference in walnut cultivars. Although there are 50+ different cultivars that are grown worldwide, the most common cultivar is the Chandler walnut, for a number of reasons we explain in our article on the Chandler walnut.