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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Butternut in Canada


Global Range

Butternut is native to north-eastern and north-central United States and reaches its northern limit in south-eastern Canada (Figure 1). In the United States it is found throughout the New England states except for northwest Maine and Cape Cod. The range then extends south to include northern New Jersey, western Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, north-western South Carolina, northern Georgia, northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, and Arkansas. Westward the range extends to central Iowa and central Missouri and in the north to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan (Rink, 1990).

Figure 1: Native Range of Butternut

Figure 1: Native range of butternut (adapted from Rink, 1990 and Farrar, 1995).

Adapted from Rink, 1990 and Farrar, 1995.

Canadian Range

The range of butternut in Canada spans the Deciduous Forest Region, the southeastern part of the Great Lakes ­St. Lawrence Forest Region along the St. Lawrence Seaway in Ontario and Quebec and the western section of the Acadian Forest Region in New Brunswick (Lauriault, 1989).

There is some debate over the occurrence of butternut in P.E.I. and N.S. According to the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre there is insufficient evidence to suggest butternut occurred naturally in P.E.I. (Blaney, pers. comm. 2002). No published records exist for butternut in the wild in N.S. although two small naturalized trees were found but suspected to be offspring of a tree planted in the past (Blaney, pers. comm. 2002).