Butternut trees reach heights of 100 feet and generally grow in the northeastern and southern United States. Butternut makes up less than 1% of the commercially available hardwoods in the United States. The narrow sapwood is white to light brown with chestnut brown heartwood.


Butternut is closely related to black walnut with very similar grain patterns. It is moderately lightweight. It is easy to work, but sharp cutting edges are needed to offset its relative softness. It finishes very well.

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Butternut is mainly used to make furniture, doors and millwork.

Other Uses

Early North American settlers gathered the tree’s nuts for cooking and clothes dye. During the civil war, regiments of Confederate soldiers colored their uniforms using butternut dye, prompting their nickname: "Butternuts."

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