Pterocarya stenoptera
Common Name: Chinese wingnut 
Type: Tree
Family: Juglandaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 50.00 to 70.00 feet
Spread: 50.00 to 70.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Light green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers consistently moist soils, but established trees tolerate some drought. Tolerates compacted clay soils. Develops an extensive root system. Freely suckers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pterocarya stenoptera, commonly called Chinese wingnut, is a deciduous tree in the walnut family that typically grows 50-70' tall with a rounded, broad-spreading crown. It is a fast growing tree that can reach 20' tall in the first 5 years. It is native to alpine forested areas and riverbanks in eastern and central China.

Chinese wingnut gets its interesting common name from its fruit. Non-showy, monoecious, light green flowers appear in pendulous catkins in late spring (May-June). Female catkins to 20” long and male catkins to 7" long. After spring flowering, small, green, winged fruits (nutlets) develop in the female catkins in early summer, forming pendulous strings to 20” long. Each nutlet has two distinct wings. Nutlets mature to brown in late summer to early fall, often persisting on the tree into winter. Compound, odd-pinnate leaves grow to 15” long. Each leaf contains 11 to 25, elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, sharply-toothed, glossy dark green leaflets (each 2-5” long). The terminal leaflet is often missing, so that the leaf is often even-pinnate instead of odd-pinnate. This tree is very similar to Pterocarya fraxinifolia (Caucasian wingnut) except the midribs (rachis) of its compound leaves have toothed, often serrate wings. New foliage is downy. Young twigs are covered with tawny down. Undistinguished yellow-green fall color.

Walnut (Juglans), hickory (Carya) and wingnut (Pterocarya) are all members of the walnut family.

Genus name comes from the Greek words pteron meaning a wing and karyon meaning a nut. Karya is an old Greek name for the walnut tree.

Specific epithet comes from the Greek ptero meaning winged and stenos meaning narrow.


No serious insect or disease problems. Fruits, foliage and twigs often produce significant litter.


Needs a large space. Shade tree for landscapes. Best for parks or large commercial plantings. Suckering habit may temper use in residential lawns. Shallow and aggressive roots may damage (by lifting) the surfaces of nearby sidewalks, driveways or patios, or may create uneven surfaces in grassy areas which, among other things, makes mowing more difficult.