Walnut Tree Symbolism and Meanings

 8 min read

Walnut, also known as Juglans, is a reliable and optimistic tree that radiates wealth. His lush green leaves act as a perfect contrast to his gorgeous wood exterior, and he gratefully provides humans with nutrient-rich nuts.

Walnut tree symbolism plays a captivating role in many ancient belief systems and cultures. As one of the most commonly sighted trees, Walnuts are accepted to symbolize health, confidence, intellectual development, and even wish fulfillment.

Walnut tree symbolism provides us with a connection to our ancestors and by embracing it we can draw on its symbols for comfort as well as guidance.

Walnuts have long been seen as powerful sources of support and protection that can be tapped into when necessary for their energies and blessing potential.

Walnut trees remain popular nowadays because of this symbolic meaning, making it all the more valuable to respect the wisdom of Walnut trees’ gifts from the past.

Symbolism:Confidence, mental wisdom, health, intellectual development and wish fulfillment
Divine Associations:Car (Pelasgian), Carya (Greek), Carmenta (Roman)
Astrological Association:Jupiter
Superstition:For centuries, the residents of Benevento in Italy lived in terror of their walnut tree. It was believed that witches and the devil held an annual dance underneath it. Eventually, St Barbatus (d. 682 CE) cut the tree down but for a long time afterwards, the townspeople were afraid that if any witches danced on the spot where the tree once stood, the devil would create a replica of it.

About Walnut Trees

Round brown nuts in the form of a tree
Round brown nuts in the form of a tree

The Juglans genus consists of around 20 species of deciduous trees that mostly grow quickly. They are native to North and South America, southeast Europe, and southeast Asia.

The leaves of walnut trees have a nice fragrance and come in a pinnate shape in some species; they can also be quite large. Male flowers appear on catkins that droop down from twigs from the previous year while female flowers bloom on the current year’s wood.

The common walnut tree, originally from Iran or China but now commonly found in the Mediterranean, is a slow-growing plant that can reach up to 100ft tall and live for 1,000 years. Its characteristic features include a silvery-grey bark, a rounded crown, and seven to nine oblong leaflets reaching up to 5in long.

The edible nut is encased in a hard shell which itself resides within an inedible but thick and fleshy husk.

Practical Uses

Walnuts were not only used as food by the Romans but also to make wine and hair dye. A cloth dye was extracted from unripe walnut shells.

Timber from various walnut species holds a lot of value and is, therefore, frequently used to construct cabinets. Furthermore, numerous Native North American tribes have employed the wood from hickory trees and other members of the walnut family to make furniture.

For example, the Apache build their dome-shaped lodges out of walnut while Tsalagi carvers use it to create intricate designs.

The nut husks can also produce dye – Kiowa boiling roots yields a blue-black hue that is often applied to buffalo hides.

Natural Healing

Not only do walnuts provide potassium and folic acid, but they taste great too! They contain about 15% protein, and 50% or more oil (including beneficial alpha-linoleic acid), and enhance the immune system while also having positive effects on heart health and circulation.

Walnut oil is also used in cosmetic skin creams as a nourishing and anti-wrinkle ingredient.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that walnuts affect the energy of the kidney meridian, which is related to blood sugar levels and vital energy. They are classified as warm and sweet, and they act to balance yin and yang in the body.

Walnuts are good for problems such as coughs, constipation, kidney stones, bladder stones, impotence, sore throats, hoarseness, and gastric ulcers. The recommended amount of walnuts to eat slowly each day is 3¼oz (90g).

According to Ayurveda, walnuts are sweet and astringent. They can increase pitta and kapha while reducing vata.

Additionally, herbal medicine suggests that walnut leaves can help stimulate the liver and may be used as a treatment for skin problems like acne or swollen glands/lymphatic congestion.

The Bach Flower Remedy of walnut helps us to “move on” and break ties with our past, whether that means adjusting to new changes in life or simply letting go. The tree essence brings a sense of freedom and purification.

Folklore, Myth and Symbol of the Walnut Trees

Brown nuts of a walnut branch
Brown nuts of a walnut branch

According to Greek legend, the walnut tree was once transformed by a mortal woman named Carya. The name of the fruit derived from her original Greek name, caryon. Cara means both “head” and “tree top,” which likely refers to her status as an oracular figure in Greece. Apollo granted King Dion’s wish of bestowing prophecy upon his three daughters—one of which was Carya. However, after she died, Dionysus resurrected her as a walnut tree

When the news of Carya’s death spread, the goddess Artemis announced it to the world. In honor of Carya, a temple was built and dedicated to Artemis Caryatis. The columns in this temple were carved into statues of female nymphs and named caryatids, after the tree nymphs infused within them. Because of the walnut’s connection with the nature goddess Artemis, it also became associated with fertility and love. It wasn’t long before marriage customs began incorporating this special tree.

After the Pelasgian group migrated and settled in Latium on the Italian peninsula, they began to know the goddess associated with walnuts as Carmenta. This is derived from Latin carmen, meaning “sacred song or oracle”, and mante which translates to “the revealer”. Consequently, this would be a strong indication that her tree was prominent in areas of divination and prophecy.

According to Roman legend, Carmenta had a son by the name of Evander (“the benefactor of humankind”) who assisted her in teaching the alphabet, or more accurately – the art of writing – to Romans. The Pelasgian colony’s original name, Pallatium, is still evident today in word form; Palatine being one out of seven hills located in Rome. Though male gods were gradually gaining power and influence during this time, Carya’s nut was better known among Romans as iuglans (from Jovis glans meaning “acorn from Jupiter”), referencing their highest deity.

Wooden writing tablets made from walnut were found during excavations of the Assyrian palace at Nimrud. The ancient Assyrians chose walnut wood to be associated with the art of writing because it was durable and had a beautiful grain.

Romans brought the walnut tree to colder climates north of the Alps, but by then Christianity was already gaining popularity and becoming dominant. Therefore, the walnut never developed its extensive mythology as other trees did.

Nevertheless, during medieval times monks often planted them for their nutritious nuts and medicinal leaves. The German word welsche Nuss translates to “foreign nut” which is where we get its modern name from.

Walnut Tree Meanings and Symbols

Small walnut trees
Small walnut trees


Through its yearly production of nutritious and sustaining food, the walnut tree is an expert in perpetual prosperity. According to author Sandra Kynes in Whispers from the Woods, “To offer thanks to the Roman goddess of fruit trees, Pomona, Romans would bury a coin beneath a walnut tree”, thereby connecting abundance directly to the fruitful generosity of the tree.

Of course, as a tree associated with Jupiter, the planet of expansion and success, the walnut is a logical choice for magic related to wealth and prosperity.

Mother Goddess Alignment

At the Vaishno Devi shrine in India, walnuts are given as an offering to the goddess. This act is seen as a way of asking for Mata Rani’s blessing, which can come in many forms including wealth, love, and happiness.

Health and Healing

For centuries, both western and eastern cultures have used walnuts and butternuts to treat various health problems like pain, wounds, liver and kidney issues, and skin conditions.

Some people believe that spending time near a healthy walnut tree can also help improve your immune system and energy field.


Derived from Latin, the walnut tree’s genus name ‘Juglans’ translates to “tree of Jupiter”.

As a god and planet commonly associated with expansion, enlisting Jupiter’s help through his namesake can assist us in expanding different areas of our lives. This includes our careers, finances, positive outlooks, or life visions.


All in all, walnut trees are pretty amazing. Not only do they give us a delicious and nutritious food source, but they also have a lot of symbolism surrounding them.

From confidence to health to wisdom, there are many different meanings associated with the walnut tree.

So the next time you see a walnut tree, take a moment to appreciate it for all that it represents.