Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
J is for…
juglandaceous – (adj) of, like, or pertaining to walnuts. From Latin juglans (walnut), which is derived from “ju” a shortened form of Jupiter the Greek god, and “glans” meaning acorn. Thus walnut is Jupiter’s acorn.
I happen to find this hilarious, and upon discovery of this word walnuts have been banished from my home. We now only have Jupiter’s acorns.
The Romans naturally made the association of walnuts with Jupiter’s wife, Juno, who was the goddess of women and marriage. Women often carried walnuts to ensure fertility, and there was actually a practice of throwing walnuts at brides and grooms.
I’ve always been rather fascinated by walnuts, with the nuts looking alternately like brains or lungs to me. In fact, the name for walnut in Afghanistan, charmarghz, means “four brains.”
According to the Doctrine of Signatures, because the shape of the walnut resembled the brain, the nut was thought to be beneficial for all ailments associated with the brain and head, including headaches.
According to my own juvenile thinking, because I thought walnuts looked like lungs, when I did a grade school science project on lungs, I made a clay model and used walnuts to “stamp” in a texture on the clay which I thought brilliantly demonstrated the organ’s “spongy” texture. It took a lot of effort, and alas the science teacher was no where near as impressed as I was. Sigh.
There are three main species of walnut: The Juglans regia originated in Persia and is now known as either the Persian or English walnut. It’s favored for nut production, and it’s the one most of us are probably familiar with. Juglans nigra, the black walnut, is a beautiful tree with highly scented leaves. It’s nut is higher in protein, crunchier, and notoriously difficult to remove from its shell. The butternut (Juglans cineria) is used for culinary purposes and traditionally makes the best dyes. Walnut dye has long been used to color cloth and used as ink.
Curiously there are several folklore tales involving magical walnuts containing fancy dresses that are used to either to bribe or impress.
I’m sometimes asked to create botanical talismans and/or altar pieces, and I have made boxes out of walnut shells. While great little containers, I find hinging the shell halves frustratingly labor intensive. Still opening them and finding a tiny treasure inside can be quite magical. I wouldn’t mind opening one and finding dresses though. I’ll have to keep hoping and cracking my share of Jupiter’s acorns.
What about you? Are you a fan of Jupiter – whether the god or the planet? Love walnuts or another kind of nut? Ever used walnut ink? Do tell – you know I want to hear.
I enjoyed learning about the nut and its connections Sorry nothing to add as far as favorite ones, they’re all good to me. Those tiny walnut shell hinged boxes sound really neat. I can see you were a creative child to use the walnut imprint on your science project and would have given you an “A+” if I were the teacher.
My “J”ethro Tull song for today is here:
I pretty much love all nuts as well. And thanks for the honorary good grade for my walnut-textured lungs. It makes my little inner scientist child smile.
That is a great obscure word, thanks for sharing!
Always my pleasure to spread the love for obscure words.
oh, my, I love walnuts, and recently have developed a sensitivity to them… amazing how many places nuts appear.
Oh, sorry to hear that Beth.
We make liquor with walnuts, named “vin de noix”. Not with the nut, not with the shell, but with the little “wall” inside. Very tasty 😋
How interesting! Yet another reason to visit France. 🙂
I like walnuts and often use them instead of pecans in recipes, except pecan pie, of course. I knew of walnut ink but have never used it. There must be a walnut tree in the forest behind our house because we find shells around in the fall, courtesy of the squirrels.
LOL – I’m sure the squirrels enjoy that particular find.
I love walnuts! There was a magnificent walnut tree outside the house I grew up in; we’ve used walnuts instead of almonds in Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes ever since.
That must have been fun having your own source on hand. I’d love that.
I love walnuts… those and cashews are the only two nuts that I will eat. I do take peanut butter, smooth, but cannot face the nuts themselves. I do enjoy almonds crushed and baked or marzipanned… but not the whole nuts.
Fresh walnuts and fresh dates… one of nature’s treasure tastes!
“Treasure tastes” – I’m totally adopting that expression!
Interesting post about all things walnut. I have a walnut-shell necklace and bracelet I bought at an antique sale — they were apparently quite popular back in the day. Walnuts are great antioxidents — highest of all the tree nuts — so I always keep some in my pantry. And now I have a special word to apply to them! Thanks for visiting my blog. Please stop back again. Here’s my J post: https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/junior-prom-my-awkward-first-date-atozchallenge/
How interesting about the jewelry. I had to search, but I found several examples. It’s so curious what becomes a fad.
I love nuts, although walnuts aren’t my favorite nut to eat by themselves. At first I thought it resembled only the brain–then I saw the lungs too in one of your pictures. Your project was very clever!
I always dump some walnuts in, along with dried fruit, when I have oatmeal. Walnuts seem to hold up much better and stay crunchier than other nuts, But I like them on their own and with many other things as well.
what a story of the humble walnut.
I hadnt seen the lung nor knew of ink or jewellry or connection with Jupiter and Juno so very much obliged to hear all.
We do use it in its bach flower essence form as well as eating .
And one time with the grandchildren we made them into boats -for an equinox ceremony.
take one half and place something special in like mandala prayers of sand or charcoal from a ceremony fire or a seed and with a song or prayer launch them into a river.
they bob along and tip over at some point but like prayer flags spread the magic on their way.
Oh, Sandra, the boats sound fabulous. I will absolutely be doing this the next time I get to visit my brother, who lives on a river.
Jupiter’s acorns are one of my favourite’s too:)
Can’t wipe the smile off my face after reading this word and it’s etymology. Cheers.
I once bought a walnut shell ( at a craft bazaar) with a miniature garden (made out of felt) in it. I was reminded of it when I read your post. I don’t know where it is now. Will have to look for it.
The tiny garden sounds fabulous, and makes me grin. Somehow Jupiter’s acorns always seem to invoke that response in me.
Hi Deborah – fascinating post about walnuts – I love them … we used to have a tree in our garden and fresh walnuts are the best – regardless of what they look like! We used to pickle ours too … delicious … and fun to read – thanks – Hilary
Oh, Hilary, life is full of surprises! I’ve never heard of pickled walnuts. I was trying to imagine both what they would taste like, and why they would have been pickled in the first place since they last so long under proper conditions. And then I looked it up and saw the pickling was of green walnuts before the shells developed. LOL – now it all makes sense.
Excellent – thanks for looking it up … my connectivity is ‘maggoty’ again – life goes on … I have a jar of pickled walnuts in my fridge at all times!! Delicious with cold meats or frankly whenever one feels like a taste! See if you can find some and give them a try … cheers Hilary
I’m looking forward to finding and tasting them. I’m so glad you mentioned them.
That is such a fun word – Jupiter’s acorns – hilarious. I love nuts and like yourself I add walnuts and seeds to my morning whatever and to bread. xx
Truly hilarious, isn’t it?! I’m pretty sure Jupiter isn’t all that pleased I it quite so funny. I’ll think of you, Fil, next time I’m adding walnuts at breakfast.
Wow, juglandaceous is quite the word! I am not at all a fan of Jupiter – quite the opposite. But I do like walnut shells. They have so many wonderful possibilities. My mother had a shell that had come from Commodore Perry’s unfriendly mission to Japan. Apparently Japanese monks would carry around a walnut and rub it and rub it and rub it as a sort of meditation thing. So after months (or years? or decades?) the shell was smooth and polished from the rubbing. Very cool. Then she also had a walnut shell with a tiny miniature scene built inside it. Another walnut shell had been made into a miniature doll cradle for the doll house. (My mother comes from a long line of pack rats and has lots of amazing curios.)
Black and White: J for Prester John
That’s so interesting about walnuts rubbed smooth. And it sounds like your mom has quite a few treasures.
I almost did walnuts for my ‘J’ I did not know the origin of the name, though. Cool!