Wingnut, Pterocarya stenoptera, Seeds
Rare, Fast Growth, Shade Tree, Unusual Showy Flowers/Fruit, Specimen Tree, Wind and Drought Tolerant, Adaptable,
Chinese Wingnut is a large fast growing deciduous shade tree growing 50 to 70 feet with large, substantial branches which spread as wide as the tree is tall. The dark green compound leaves, 6 to 12 inch long are composed of many, finely-toothed, oval leaflets. The leaves do not display any appreciable fall color. Of particular interest are the 6 to 12 inch long clusters, green strings of winged seeds suspended below the branches which turn brown and fall in autumn. This unusual and rare tree grows at a phenomenal rate. The trunk can reportedly grow to at least eight feet in diameter. Genus name comes from ptero (winged) and carya (hickory).
Chinese Wingnut may perform well as a street or shade tree but the aggressive roots may make it unsuitable for use in a lawn or garden. It should be considered for broader use as an urban tree but it is largely untested, so use it with caution. Locate it well away from (10 feet or more) a sidewalk or driveway so the large-diameter surface roots will not lift the concrete. Prune early in the life of the tree to form a good, strong structure by spacing major limbs several feet apart along a central trunk. Do not allow these limbs to grow more than about two-thirds the diameter of the trunk to encourage formation of a strong branch collar.