A butternut is a small to medium-sized tree that rarely lives more than 75 years, according to About.com. The tree produces nuts and lumber, with the former being more valuable. It is native to the United States, vulnerable to fire destruction and intolerant of shade, states TreeTopics.
The tree flowers from April to June. It is monoecious, so male and female flowers develop on the same plant although they don't ordinarily open simultaneously. The leaves of the plant are compound and 15 to 30 inches long. Usually, between 11 and 17 leaflets develop that link to a stout and do not have stalks. Surfaces on both sides of a leaf are hairy and sport sharp teeth. The fruits, or nuts, are covered with sticky, oily hair. They ripen in September or October and may not fall until after the tree sheds its leaves. The butternut fruits are sometimes used in baking but also provide food for rodents.
The Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry states that the butternut thrives on moist, well-drained soil and often grows along streams. The plant may grow on well-drained gravel sites and sometimes on dry, rocky soil. It is susceptible to butternut canker, a fungal infection that escalates rapidly and can destroy a tree in a few years; however, some diseased trees may thrive for many years.