The Nuttery : Volume 19 Number 1 (2000)

In this Issue...

In the Announcements section, note the dates of this year's Spring Field Days at ECSONG nut groves in the Table below, and in articles inside this issue: Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, Oak Valley Nut Grove, Dolman Ridge Nut Grove and the Dominion Arboretum. Note also on page 12 the ECSONG Calendar for this year. Other announcements include the SONG Summer Meeting; and Envirothon.

In the Projects Section, catch up the progress regarding signs, new trails, and research at the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove with John Sankey, and new opportunities at the Lavant Shagbarks with Len Collett.

In the News, follow an article from the Ottawa Citizen about healthy walnut diets; learn about a new concept for our nut grove field days from Vera Hrebacka; react to the upcoming launch of the Canada Regional Nut Tree Contest; enjoy the news from Blossom Park Public School; and prepare to view the supreme Eastern Ontario black walnut logs at Plantagenet.

For the Nut Grower, learn with John Sankey about using black walnut for harpsichord and guitar manufacture; study nut growing on small sites with Doug Campbell; let Darryl tell you about Taxol in Hazelnuts; read about Texas Bur Oak in Ottawa; and join Len Collett in his examination of future research programs for ECSONG.

See y'all at the Field Days!

Announcing the Canada Regional Nut Tree Contest

Cobjon Nutculture Services in Ottawa announces the launching of a contest to discover champion nut trees growing in Canada.

The contest is called the 'Canada Regional Nut Tree Contest', or CRNTC for short. The five-year long contest, starting May 1, 2000 and ending in 2005, will be open to everyone. Champion Trees of black walnut, bur oak, shagbark hickory, butternut, beech and American chestnut are sought. Any individual tree is eligible, whether it is growing in town, on the farm, along the road, or in the forest. Winners for each species will be announced each year, and the Grand Champions chosen at the end of the contest.

A $25 Contest Entry Kit provides Contestants lots of information about these nut trees, about the contest itself, how to get expert help, and an entry form with detailed instructions. The contest opens first in the Central Canada Region, but will soon expand to the rest of the country. The knowledge gained will boost Canada's young nut industry, and quickly result in millions of new superior trees being planted widely in town and out, across the country.

For more information, and to enter the contest, contact Dr. Sergei Ponomarenko in Ottawa by phone at 613-565-5725, or by email at, or by post at 601 Laurier W. Apt 6, Ottawa K1R 6K9.

Dolman Ridge Events Spring 2000

Lots of exciting things are planned for the NCC/ECSONG Dolman Ridge Nut Grove Spring Field Day program.

First, about 30 grade 4 & 5 students at Blossom Park School, led by vice-principal Julie Morris and Hank Jones, have packed the school refrigerator with germinating walnut seeds and planted some 20 seedlings each in a 2 litre pop-bottle, that will all be ready for a GrowBox soon. Thursday, 18 May, 2000 between 9-11 AM will see a school bus full of potential nut growers descend on the oak groves at Anderson and Dolman Ridge roads to plant their seeds. Dr. Roman Popadiouk will host a tour of the trees around the oak groves to teach them about tree identification and how wonderful trees are.

Second, on Saturday 20 May at 10 am, we hold a Public Awareness Day, co-hosted by the NCC, ECSONG, the Ottawa/Carleton Urban Stewardship Council and Bearbrook Farm. Planned events include:

Also soon, we will install the NCC-approved signs at the red oaks and at the American chestnuts, so the concrete will be dry by 20 May for the dedication. See the article elsewhere in this issue entitled "Signs for the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove" for the wording.

We have laid out a trail to link the oak groves and provide access to a planting area, and the NCC's formal environmental assessment of it is in progress. Current NCC plans are for a small parking lot at the trail just north of the Dolman Ridge, and for a large sign there which we would use to advertise the oak groves. Great PR!

Then there is a survey of the red oak plantation to be completed, extension of the plantation with seedlings from it, planting of various hazelnuts along the path, collecting American chestnut seeds from the site to increase their population in the area, growing bear oaks for planting along Anderson Road where the hydro crews cut down the red oaks, a bit more removal of dead wood from the red oaks, ...,all of which can be done at any time you feel like lending a hand in a gorgeous natural spot. Call John Sankey at 748-0317 if you do.

3rd Ottawa-Carleton Envirothon Competition

(Note: The following announcement was just received by ECSONG. In the future, will there be a place for nut trees in this competition?)

Eleven High Schools, 55 Students to Participate in 3rd Ottawa-Carleton Envirothon Competition

A record number of students and teachers from eleven Ottawa-Carleton high schools will participate in the Ottawa-Carleton part of the North American Envirothon competition at the Y Camp in Dunrobin from Wednesday April 28th to Friday, April 30th.

This unique environmental competition has students learning from resource experts from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and the Canadian Forest Service before the field test on Friday April 28th. The winner goes on to the provincial championship in Thunder Bay, May 10th to 14th. The eleven high schools are:

AY Jackson SS, Kanata; Colonel By SS, Gloucester; Cairine Wilson SS, Gloucester; Earl of March SS, Kanata, Gloucester HS, Gloucester; Laurentian HS, Ottawa; Nepean HS, Nepean; Mother Theresa HS, Nepean; Notre Dame HS, Ottawa; Rideau HS, Ottawa and St. Matthew HS, Orleans.

The Envirothon program is a hands-on environmental education program. Participants attend field sessions and solve problems from five major areas: Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife and a rotating topic, which this year is Wetland Management.

Ottawa-Carleton has an excellent track record in the competition. The 1998 Ottawa-Carleton winners, West Carleton SS was first in Ontario in 1998. Last year's Ottawa-Carleton winners, Colonel By SS was a silver medal finalist in Ontario.

The Ottawa-Carleton competition is coordinated and funded by the Urban Ecosystem Stewardship Council, Ottawa-Carleton Rural Stewardship Council and Canada Trust's Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Michael Rosen, Stewardship Coordinator, Ottawa-Carleton 5524 Dickinson Street, Box 599, Manotick, Ontario, K4M 1A5 Tel: (613) 692-0014 Fax: (613) 692-2806 Cell: (613) 850-2103

* Directions: Hwy. #417 west to March Rd. March Rd. north to Dunrobin Rd. Right on Dunrobin Rd. and then a quick right on Riddell Dr. Follow Riddell right around, after it makes a large curve to the left, the Y Camp entrance is on your right hand side.

Fillmore R.Park Nut Grove Spring Field Day

The Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove is a five-acre site started in 1979 as ECSONG's first public nut grove. The FRP as it is commonly called, is owned by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), headquartered in Manotick, Ontario. The FRP is locted on the Baxter Conservation Area just south of Kars,Ontario, beside the Rideau River.

On Saturday, May 8, 2000, starting at 10AM, the FRP Liaison Committee, chaired by Sandy Graham, will host the Spring Field Day. It is hoped that the RVCA and The Friends of Baxter will join the days activities. Cobjon Nutculture Services has offered to host its Nutting Bee, wihich will provide Nutty Face Painting for the kids, and special nutling stock for sael to visitors. This year, the planting stock will feature the rare and beautiful Horsechestnut. Visitors will be able to buy the stock to take home, or to offer as gifts to friends and neighbours.

For more information, please contact Sandy Graham at 613 - 489 - 4159.

The National Nut Tree Collection (NNTC) and Nut Tour

This year, a Nut Tree Tour of Canada's Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, is planned. Read on for some background information, and for details on this upcoming exciting event!

The main task of ECSONG's Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee (DALC), chaired by Dr. Roman Popadiouk, is to develop a National Nut Tree Collection for Canada. The Dominion Arboretum has a similar task for all trees of interest to Canadians, so there is a natural alliance.

In conversations with Roman, the Nuttery Editor has come to understand better what this NNTC will be like. The NNTC is firstly a growing list of all the nut species, varieties and cultivars we expect can be grown in Canada. This list, compiled by Cobjon Nutculture Services (Ottawa), now includes almost a hundred candidates, and it is growing.

Over time, specimens of all these plants will be sourced, acquired and planted in public areas, for demonstration and research purposes. Of course, each plant will be represented by several specimens planted in different locales, as backup. Sites will include the Dominion Arboretum, the several Nut Groves of SONG/ECSONG in Ontario, and other cooperating Aboretums and Botanical Gardens across the country. Thus the NNTC will come to also be a physical collection of nut trees. An envisaged NNTC information package will be a 'map' of all these plants and their sites.

In the Dominion Arboretum, several of the earliest tree planted, in the 1880's, are nut trees still standing. Many new trees recently planted are also nut trees. In total, there are about 50 kinds of nuts trees in the Arboretum today, as documented with help from AgCan staff (Brian Douglas, Foreman) and the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm (FCEF). For most of its twenty-year existence, and in line with its mandate to promote nut tree growing, ECSONG has been providing free advice, assistance and nut stock to the Dominion Aboretum, to the pleasure and benefit of all involved.

According to the NNTC list, there are still more nut trees that the DA might want grow. The nut growers of Canada, through ECSONG, will continue to offer their services, to the ultimate benefits of all interested Canadians. So, we should all see new nut trees appearing in the Dominion Arboretum from time time.

If you would like to take a free DA Nut Tour, meet Dr. Roman Popadiouk at Building 72 in the Dominion Arboretum, on the Central Experimental Farm, on Saturday, May 27 at 10:00 AM, for a two hours walkabout (Rain Date is Sunday, the following day, same time, same place). For more information, contact Roman at 230-3276 days or 230-1835 evenings, or by email at

Oak Valley Nut Grove Spring Field Day

The South Nation Conservation and ECSONG invite the Friends of Oak Valley and the public to attend its Oak Valley Nut Grove Spring Field on Saturday, May 13, 2000 at 10AM, at the Oak Valley Nut Grove located near Winchester Springs, Ontario.

A second Spring Field Day will be held on June 3, 2000 at 10AM. For more information, please contact Peter Carr in Ottawa at 728-6744.

The Blossom Park School Black Walnut Project

On March 10, 2000, I was privileged to visit Blossom Park Public School, at the invitation of Julie Morris, Vice-Principal. I met with students in the Grade Four Class to start the Black Walnut Project. The Project is for the class to stratify and germinate Black Walnuts, and then to plant the nutlings in special Grow Boxes at the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove on Thursday May 18, 2000. Then, on Saturday, May 20, 2000, we will all join the Public Awareness Day at the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove. On that Day, the public will see the black walnuts the class planted, and also tour the Nut Grove.

The Project is now underway, and most of the nuts I brought are in stratification in the school refrigerator. Some of the nuts had already germinated, so we planted them in 2 liter pop bottles, one nut per bottle.

I want to thank all the students, teachers and staff who participated in the classroom phase of the project. Special thanks to students Steven, Yusif Ali, Ebian, David McCall, Samantha Ann Wells, Sarah, Travis, Meagan, and Selmaan, whose letters and drawings are excellent and most welcome! Many thanks also to Julie Morris, Sarah Ashton, Jane Neely and Sandy Stewart for their indispensable assistance to me and the students!

I look forward to meeting with you all again in early May to see how your black walnuts are growing, and of course to our field trip on May 18, to plant the nuts and nultings at Dolman Ridge.

Highest regards, Henry (Hank) Jones, Chair Eastern Chapter Society of Ontario Nut Growers, and President, Cobjon Nutculture Services.

Science at Dolman Ridge

John Sankey, Chair Dolman Ridge Liaison Committee, and Dr. Sergei Ponomarenko have been planning research for the Nut Grove there.

As John puts it... "I submit that it would be useful for us to obtain a core from each of the five oak plantations - the red and bur oaks on the ridge, the white, red and bur oaks on the lowland - to put on record their growth pattern over the past 30 years.

There are two additional question that I feel should be answered by a professional forester:
1. The bur oaks on the ridge show a remarkable variation in DBH - over 3:1 - for trees planted at the same time and supposedly from the same seed stock. Can we say why?
2. The white oaks on the lowland fall into two groups - some have grown acceptably, but over half have repeatedly died back and resprouted from the base. Is this disease, or genetic variation in tolerance to poor drainage?"

For more information, contact John or Sergei (see members list for phone numbers).

Signs for the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove

John Sankey has been working on wording for several permanent signs for visitors, to be placed at the Nut Grove before this Spring's Field day, on the 20th of May. The approved text follows:

"Products from our forests have been major contributors to the prosperity of Canadians ever since Samuel de Champlain shipped out a load of squared timber from the Ottawa Valley in 1611. By the 1960s, most of Canada's exports were forest-related. So, as part of Canada's centennial programming of 1967, the government of Canada established here a Central Research Forest (CRF) to aid us in maintaining our forest-based prosperity.

This oak grove is part of that research forest. It was planted in part by Mogens Leif Anderson, then a forester with the CRF.

Oak wood is one of our finest hardwoods for furniture and flooring. This grove was created for studying the growth of our native oaks in a managed plantation context, where the quality of timber produced can be much greater than in an uncontrolled setting. However, the research was moved to Petawawa in 1979. Since then, these trees have been on their own.

Now, in the year 2000, the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG), in partnership with the National Capital Commission (NCC), has taken on the task of restoring the grove to optimum health to demonstrate the value of hardwood plantations as timber producers and as contributors to our natural ecology.

On May 20, 2000, this grove was named the Mogens Leif Anderson Oak Plantation, in honour of Anderson's work to promote Canadian forestry.

Eastern Chapter, Society of Ontario Nut Growers National Capital Commission"

The sign will be bilingual, and is already in both languages, thanks to the NCC. John will manufacture the copy, and place it in signage provided by the NCC.

The Lavant Shagbarks

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) is one of the rarest trees in Eastern Ontario. From the St. Lawrence River region southward, the tree is fairly common; however, north of the St. Lawrence, the occurrence is rare.

Shagbark Hickory was found growing in the Ottawa District for the first time on September 2, 1882 on an excursion of the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club to Deschênes, Quebec. It is not known whether any trees in the grove exist today. [They do]

Members of ECSONG have recently learned about the existence of a grove of shagbarks growing on Crown Land in the Lavant Township in the Lanark Highlands. The location of the grove is just over the boundary between Darling and Lanark Townships on the French Line which runs between Brightside and Joe Lake. The site is approximately 8.2 km northwest of Brightside which is located north of Lanark Village on Highway 511.

A number of members expressed an interest in viewing the grove because some have never seen a shagbark hickory tree growing. A viewing was organized to take place at the site on Tuesday April 4, 2000. Sixteen persons were present:
Linda Forsyth, Lanark County Forester, Ministry of Natural Resources, Kemptville
Travis Hossack, Forester, Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc.
Cathy Nielsen, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Natural Resources, Kemptville
Jeff Ward, Coordinator, Stewardship Council of Lanark County, Ministry of Natural Resources, Perth
David Crowley, Perth Representative, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
ECSONG Members-- Darryl Abbinett, Peter Carr, Len and Genice Collett, Ted Cormier, Hank Jones, Sergei Ponomarenko, Roman Popadiouk, Jim Ronson, John Sankey and George Truscott.

The site slopes up from the Clyde River (elevation 600 ft) to a height of 1050 ft. The roadway and a power line cross the area. It was evident that the shagbark hickories which numbered about 50-60 trees had been growing there for a long time. Travis Hossack took a core out of one of the trees. By carefully examining the tree rings, John Sankey later estimated that the tree was about 100 years old (see adjacent dendrograph). It was also evident that the shagbarks were regenerating themselves because there were a number of younger trees growing in the grove. Bitternut hickories were also present. Also of interest were beech and butternut trees. Unfortunately, the butternuts are affected by the canker.

Since the viewing, George Truscott revisited the area and reported that there are shagbarks growing to the west of this grove. He estimates that there could be up to 300 trees growing there. He also has been informed by a local resident that there are some Black Oak in the area. When this is confirmed, it will be significant since these trees are growing away north of their range.

Linda Forsyth informed us that the area will not be considered for logging until year 2006. She explained how the jurisdiction is under the control of the logging industry subject to the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources. As members of ECSONG we expressed our interest in protecting this valuable and rare species as demonstrated by the presence of so many of our members. We told her that we would like to use the seed for the propagation of this species in selected areas in Eastern Ontario. We were informed that discussions for leasing Crown Land for logging for the next five-year period (2006-2011) would commence around the year 2003. So we should be preparing our arguments of why we would like to have this grove protected.

This is a new type of undertaking for ECSONG; quite different from the other type of projects in which we are involved. A committee will be formed to discuss what studies should be carried out and what we should do to enhance the grove. This will be done in cooperation with the Lanark County Forester and Steward.

Submitted by Len Collett

Nut Growing on the Very Small Property

Doug Campbell, SONG


Since more than 97% of our population lives in urban settings, it is useful to know the options for growing nut trees on small properties. In most cities the predatory animals are numerous and not easily subject to control. For example, if squirrels are abundant, chestnuts may be one of the few items for which the grower may get a reasonable share of the nuts. Also when grown in small numbers, good pollination is often a challenge. The size of the trees may be critical to lot dimensions and to avoid excessive shading of houses/vegetable gardens/flowers. Tree roots may be a problem for pools/drains and foundations. Interference with overhead utility lines is a consideration. Some trees drop more debris than others do; lower branches may have to be pruned off to allow for sufficient headroom. All of these considerations and others are discussed in the following.


The soils in subdivisions have often been disturbed/degraded etc. with few trees doing well in subsoil materials. Planting sites may have to be improved with organic matter/sand/soil mixes.


The full sized trees such as pecan, walnut, and hickory should have a space allowance of at least 30 feet in diameter. The bush forms of hazel require a diameter of 15 feet and almonds have similar requirements.


Most urban lots are fairly well drained so this is not usually a problem. However, nut trees should not be planted where there is standing water for more than 2 days after a rainstorm.


Squirrels raccoons, birds, rodents, etc. all enjoy eating nuts. The animals will start taking the nuts even before ripeness. The smaller trees may be caged for protection otherwise the animals will get most if not all the crop. Chestnuts are different in this respect because the nuts are protected by the burrs. Usually, the animals do not start eating chestnuts until the nuts have fallen on the ground.


Most nut tree species require 3-5 different trees of the same species in order to achieve good cross-pollination for best production. Note: Two trees of the same cultivar are really only one tree for the purpose of pollination. Otherwise, isolated/single trees usually bear just the occasional nuts. On very small lots, nuts may be planted in clumps of three to achieve pollination. The technique is similar to planting a clump of three white birch trees.


Most of the trees are competitive for nutrients/moisture/light. Few vegetables/flowers etc. do well under the drip line of major trees.


A few of the nut trees such as pecan, hickory, beech, walnut, ginkgo, etc. make very large trees, which are useful for shade and ornamentation. These trees are sturdy, long lived, and drop relatively few branches. The small leaves of pecan melt away into the soil quite soon after fall leaf drop.


Tree roots may invade drains, pools, foundations, and create quite a nuisance. Black walnut, white oak, pecan and shellbark hickory may require at least 30 feet to drains etc., in order to prevent root invasions.


The full sized trees such as walnut can reach heights of up to 120 feet at maturity. Allowance of 30 feet from tree to power line is a reasonable precaution to avoid interference and there is a need for management pruning in the middle years of the nut trees. Some of the bush nut trees such as hazel which reach perhaps a maximum 25 feet may be safely planted under power lines.


All trees produce some droppings of nut husks, leaves, twigs, and things. Black walnuts may be more noticeable in this regard than others such as male ginkgo, and pecan trees. Chestnuts might be avoided for planting in highly traveled areas because of the spiny husks.


Most nut trees require little pruning to grow upright in an attractive tree form. Heartnuts may require more attention in this respect, as the trees tend to produce many low growing branches of major size. Trees on lawns should be pruned up at the trunks to allow for comfortable headroom for people walking under the trees. Remember that when the trees are heavy with harvest or the leaves are wet, that the branches will bend down more than usual.


Most nut trees require full sun to produce satisfactory crops. Shady lots may not be very productive. Remember too that trees from adjacent lots get bigger with time, and produce ever-increasing amounts of shade. Hazels generally require less sun than some of the other nut trees.


The use of chemical sprays in urban areas may be problematic, and the Carpathian walnut maybe difficult to manage in this respect for production of quality nuts. The Chinese chestnut might be chosen as a species of choice to avoid chestnut blight. Hazel types, which are resistant to filbert blight, should be chosen. Otherwise, nut trees, as a class are not especially prone to disease/insect problems and can be grown without the necessity of a detailed spray program.


Nut trees in the city require many of the same considerations for nurture as on the farm, i.e. moisture, fertilizers, mulch, tree protectors, cultivars, seedlings and all the other good things. Please refer to references for the general requirements for tree growing to cover these details.

A Note on Nut Wood Use

From: William Jurgenson, a harpsichord maker in Germany:

In the old days woods like sycamore (platanus) or maple (acer) or walnut was not cut immediately after felling. It was set on end on a wooden grid in a dark, not too dry barn for at least a year. Endgrain was sealed as is often done now to prevent cracking due to drying in the round too fast. I did this with walnut before my barn was recycled into my present shop, and after 2-3 years upright in the dark, the sawyer commented, 'where did you get this?'. He then told me what he had learned from his father, but never actually done himself, because nobody had the time or was willing to pay more for something they didn't understand. This walnut (Juglans regia) was brown all the way through like good 18 and 19th c. furniture, not dark brown in the heart and more like orange outside. It had virtually no very dark core. Yet the tree had been from next to the river, wide ringed and very orange when felled.

via John Sankey. Note: John and his son Michael are planning to use Eastern Ontario Black Walnut in constructing John's new harpsichord, and in Michael's new line of professional guitars.

An ECSONG Nut Research Committee?

ECSONG's Nut Groves are now at a stage in their development that makes them highly valuable as site for demonstrating all aspects of nut growing to the public. An important element of nut growing is the nut nursery. Our best example of an included nursery is the Truscott Nut Nursery collocated with the Oak Valley Nut Grove.

These nurseries could do more than just instruct. They can also serve ECSONG as research sites for the long term development of new and superior varieties on nut tree, and for the development of new techniques and methods of nut growing.

In this spirit, Len Collett has agreed to take on the job of defining a long term research strategy and program for ECSONG. Most likely, he will be suggesting as starters the creation of an ECSONG Research Committee, and be asking members to sign on. Presently, Len is studying possible frameworks for future research efforts.

One element of the research could be joint R&D projects with local colleges and universities in the these Nut Nurseries, and of the course Nut Groves in general. We all look forward to hearing from Len in the near future on how we can get our research under way post haste!

For more information, please contact Len Collett.

Taxol in Hazelnuts

Following is some info that Darryl Abbinett found on an Internet newsgroup called bionet.agroforestry. Also take a look at this website There are some interesting sites are there.

The following article is from The Oregonian, March 30, 2000, p D1


The University of Portland research is the first to find paclitaxel used to make Taxol, in a plant other than the yew


A small amount of the active chemical of the top-selling cancer drug Taxol has been found in hazelnuts, according to researchers at the University of Portland.

It is unclear, however, whether the discovery will be anything more than interesting. Oregon produces virtually all of the nation's commercial hazelnut crop.

Taxol, which brought manufacturer Bristol-Meyers Squibb $1.48 billion last year, is now made exclusively with chemicals from yew tree needles. Taxol is used to treat ovarian cancer, breast cancer and the AIDS-related cancer Kaposi's sarcoma.

It shows promise in treating psoriasis, polycystic kidney disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease, among other diseases. The Portland study - partially financed by the Oregon Hazelnut Commission - is the first report that the drug's active chemical, known generically as paclitaxel, is present in another plant, researchers said.

It takes several of the slow-growing Pacific yew trees to make a small amount of taxol commercially. It takes even more hazelnuts: gram for gram, hazelnuts carry one-tenth of the chemical that yew trees do, according to the research.

In addition, it took nearly 30 years after paclitaxel was found in yew trees to get Taxol on the market; and this latest discovery still hasn't moved out of the lab.

"I'm not sure I see what the advantage of the hazelnut over the yew tree would be," said oncologist Clifford Hudis, chief of the Breast cancer medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer center. University of Portland researchers, though, hope the discovery could reduce the cost of Taxol and make it more readily available. "This is potentially good news for cancer patients," said Angela M. Hoffman, a member of the research team. She presented the study Wednesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

But people needn't line up at the state's hazelnut orchards just yet. Eating hazelnuts has no cancer-prevention or cancer-fighting benefits.

"Won't do any good at all, because Taxol is not active orally," said Robert Holton, a Florida State University chemist who gets royalties from Bristol-Myers for his method of synthesizing the drug. The study began as a search for a compound that gave some hazelnut trees resistance to a disease known as eastern filbert blight. During a chemical analysis, one of the chemicals identified was paclitaxel. It was isolated from the tree branches, nuts and nutshells, the study said. "Having a new source of paclitaxel is compelling," said Steve Tighe, senior pharmaceutical analyst at Merill Lynch. "But many questions must be answered before anyone can say whether it can be used against cancer. "Is it economical or even possible to extract paclitaxel from hazelnuts commercially? Will regulators approve it? How many companies would get the license to do it?"

Editor: Also, in the The Globe and Mail of April 25th, 2000, there is a note that this chemical was also found on a fungus growing on the nuts. The note was not sourced.

Eat walnuts and live longer, study suggests

Wednesday April 12, 2000 Share This Story With A Friend

Daily handful of walnuts cuts heart risk by 11%

By Maria Cook, The Ottawa Citizen

A handful of walnuts a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, says a new study published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Walnuts lowered the risk of coronary heart disease by 11 per cent," said Dr. Emilio Ros, the researcher who directed the study at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona in Spain.

"It's as simple as this: If you eat a handful of walnuts a day, you will lower your blood cholesterol, and therefore lower your cardiovascular risk."

"Nuts have a lot of heart protective capabilities," agreed Margo Rosen, a clinical dietitian at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

"We encourage people to include some nuts in their diet on a day-to-day basis, but be aware that they're a high source of calories," she says. "Use nuts as an accent to food, but don't sit with a bowl of nuts, eat them, and think that will protect your heart, because you'll gain weight."

A team of researchers from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Loma Linda University in California studied 49 men and women ranging in age from 28 to 72 at the Barcelona clinic's lipid section. All had high cholesterol.

For six weeks, participants followed a cholesterol-lowering Mediterranean diet, which is high in grains and cereals, fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, and contains only small amounts of meat and dairy products. Olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fat, one of the "good guys" in the fat world, is the main source of fat in a Mediterranean diet.

For another six weeks, the participants consumed a similar diet in which walnuts replaced 35 per cent of the energy from the monounsaturated fat.

As expected, the Mediterranean diet lowered cholesterol significantly. But the walnut diet was even better, reducing serum cholesterol 4.1 per cent, LDL cholesterol 5.9 per cent and lipoprotein 6.2 per cent more than the typical Mediterranean diet.

Because the proportion of artery-clogging saturated fats in western diets is generally higher than that in Mediterranean diets, Dr. Ros said that even greater benefits would likely be obtained by replacing some of the fatty foods in a western diet with walnuts.

Saturated fats come from animal sources like beef, pork, veal, lamb, eggs, butter and cheeses.

Ms. Rosen notes that one ounce of nuts, or 14 halves, has 180 calories. She suggests replacing margarine on toast in the morning, or salad dressing at lunch with a snack of walnuts or walnuts added to a salad.

Walnuts have interested researchers because they are particularly rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have a protective effect against heart disease. Walnuts also contain large amounts of the n-3 linolenic acid, which may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

A previous study of 31,000 Seventh Day Adventists showed that those who ate nuts of any kind at least five times a week had only half the risk of heart attacks as those who ate nuts less than once a week.

The 'Field and Fair' Concept

As the ECSONG Nut Groves mature, they are becoming increasingly attractive and informative. It is time to press for more and more public involvement in activities in the groves. The Spring and Summer Field Days are the logical place to start. In the past, the field days have been organized to bring members to the site with tools in order to groom the grove. An invitation to the public to do the same would probably go unheeded.

Vera Hrebacka, ECSONG Secretary, has suggested that introducing nutty shopping will bring families. Shopping would be offering nuts and seedlings for sale, so that as the visitors interest in nut growing is piqued by the 'Field' day activities, they have an immediate opportunity to obtain nut trees for home planting. Of course, the 'Fair' would offer children's activities as well.

Note that the May 20th Field Day at the Dolman Ridge Nut Grove is taking the lead in this endeavour. As the 'Fair' part, a Nutting Bee will be offered by Cobjon Nutculture Services that will provide Nutty Face Painting for the kids, and nutling stock for sale to the visiting public (this year, the rare and beautiful Horsechestnut is on the menu).

This is an example of how field days might work in the future, with ECSONG's colleague organization throwing their hats into the ring. Publicity for the event will be much much wider, and many people may attend. The projected attendance for Dolman is 50 to 100 people. Do not miss it! Join the fun, and bring your family, friends and neighbours.

For more information on the Field & Fair concept or to join in, contact Vera Hrebacka.

Morrisburg's Roots: Black Walnut Nutwood

When the United Empire Loyalists settled this area, many followed the trail of the Black Walnut tree. The tree grows well only in the best soil, and thus its presence reveals the choicest farmland. As well, its fruit is choice, as good or better than most kinds of nuts, and its wood is second to none for cabinetry. The living tree offers many other valuable products.

On Tuesday, February 15, 2000, three large Black Walnut trees in Morrisburg standing in a row on High Street, possibly dating back to the late nineteenth century, were harvested. Cobjon Nutculture Services (CNS,, a division of Cobjon Enterprises Inc. (613-828-5772), specialist in Canadian nut trees and crops, managed the harvest. Brooks Tree Service (613-535-2322), local experts in harvesting such trees, cut them to yield pieces of highest value. On Thursday, March 2, 2000, a 15-ton crane, a 15-ton truck and a 3-ton trailer began the two-day move to deliver the logs to the Robillard Mill (613-673-2320) in Plantagenet. And in an unusual move, the three immense stumps will be lifted, in late spring when greenwood sprouts are arising. For crafters, stumpwood often offers exciting grain patterns highly prized by wood artisans. And the greenwood sprouts present an opportunity to clone the trees.

Most people are saddened when such large trees have to be harvested, and feel a loss. However, these trees (and other nut trees like them elsewhere and at other times that CNS might harvest) will leave a legacy. From a selected piece of the tree, a local artisan will professionally turn an objet d'art, inscribed to trees' former owner, as an heirloom. Other pieces will be donated to local students of woodworking keen to create their own inscribed works.

Who planted these trees, and why? Already, CNS is on the trail of the story of these giants, to determine their role in the history of the community. Using dendrochronology methods, the trees exact age (and thus the year of planting) will be determined from the rings. A detailed analysis of the ring patterns will reveal the microclimate history of the site. And with the help of community and reviews of historical records, CNS expects to piece the story together.

The last crop of nutseed from the trees was collected in the fall of 1999, and passed to the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG). The nutseed is being stratified at ECSONG's Dolman Ridge Nut Grove near Mer Bleue, from whence they will be planted around Eastern Ontario by the hundreds in the years to come. And thus these trees will live on in memory and in progeny.

These actions taken together will ensure the trees live on, in the minds and hearts of the people, and in Canadian soil. Cobjon Nutculture Services will beginning planning a replanting of new nuts trees to replace the Walnuts, so in a hundred or so years, our descendants will also be able to celebrate their history as we are doing now.

The nutwood is now available to end users. Contact CNS either through the website, by phone at 613-828-5772, or fax 613-567-8217.


ECSONG offers a prize of $300 each year for the best student paper on nut culture in Canada, with emphasis on the Eastern Ontario Region.

This year, we were unable to award the prize. It is hoped that with better promotion in future, we will be able to foster greater interest from the academic community in the region.

Texas Bur Oak

Jane Lynas last fall sent us about twenty mature acorns from Bur Oak growing near her house in Mansfield, Texas. Since then, almost everyone has germinated, and most of these are growing vigorously.

The Bur Oak in Texas is at the southern most edge of its natural range. In the best Texas tradition, its acorn are enormous, about the size golf balls. Is this the result of better growing conditions that far south, or is it possible, even if the tree were to be grown here? In other words, would an Ontario Bur Oaks grow big acorns in Texas? Conversely, would Texas Bur Oak survive in Ontario AND grow these huge acorns. Probably this is all wishful thinking. But, thanks to Jane, we can experiment. Already, some of the nutlings are in the nursery at the Dominion Arboretum. And others will be planted around where they can be watched closely. Who knows, it might work!

For more information, contact Hank Jones.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.