Story of the Ciaro Walnut Tree

Claro Walnut is an American exotic tree, native to the upper Sacramento River basin. The lumber it produces is known for its deep, rich colors and intense figure and is coveted by gun stock manufacturers and master craftsmen. The Story of Claro Walnut begins with a Gentleman named John Bidwell (August 5, 1819 – April 4, 1900). Bidwell was known throughout California and nationwide as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, gold miner, statesman, politician, prohibitionist, and philanthropist. He is famous for leading one of the first emigrant parties, the Bartleson–Bidwell Party along the California Trail, and for founding Chico, California. He was a Major in the Mexican-American War, Brigadier General in the California Malita, and a Republican congressman (1849-1851).


After settling in Chico and starting his farming career, Bidwell planted Circassian walnut trees (Juglans Regia). His family was of English heritage, so the seed stock came from Eastern Europe and the Old Russian Muslim Republics. These trees flourished in the deep, fertile soils along the Sacramento River in Chico, California.


These trees eventually cross-pollinated with the native northwestern black walnut (Juglans Hindsii). The new cross grew and flourished and the new trees were named Claro Walnut, meaning clear walnut in Spanish. Being a big, beautiful, majestic tree, they were cultivated and planted along roadways and in home yards. Claro rootstock was eventually used commercially as a root graft for French and English walnut trees in walnut orchards around California. The graft combined the robust root of a big tree, with the smaller, easier to harvest tree, with a taster nut.


Claro walnut trees are no longer planted and are becoming increasingly fewer and fewer. They are usually only harvested because of old age and changing land use. What once was a beautiful backyard tree grows into an unmanageable old giant. This is the point at which CS Woods provides an avenue for those incredibly special trees to continue to bring joy and beauty (and carbon sequestration). Working with teams familiar with careful removal and milling, we can create some of the most beautiful slabs in the world from these trees, which in turn become some of the most spectacular and special heirloom furniture.


Claro walnut trees are hard to obtain and dry, but their beauty is unmatched.


Juglans Regia: This tree is considered the oldest Walnut tree in the world.


Khotan, Xinjiang


Juglans Hindsii in California

Juglans Hindsii, Walnut tree in California

John Bidwell - August 5, 1819 – April 4, 1900

John Bidwell: August 5, 1819 – April 4, 1900

April 08, 2019 — JAYMI tripp