The wingnuts belong to the walnut (Juglandaceae) family; they have showy ash-like leaves and long hanging fruit catkins, to which the winged nuts are attached. The amount of edible nut in the wingnuts is about the same as that in the seed of the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), i.e. not much; in this they differ completely from their cousins, such as the English walnut (Juglans regia) or the pecan (Carya illinoensis). Nevertheless the hanging decorative catkins give the tree a distinctive appearance in late summer. The catkins turn brown in autumn and remain on the tree long after leaf fall.
There are eight Asian species in the genus, and the Japanese wingnut is one of the hardiest. However, it is susceptible to spring frosts, which turn the leaves black. Japanese wingnut enjoys rich moist deep soil. In southern Finland it also seems to thrive in moist clay soils. The trees do best in protected spots in parks and gardens, for example against building walls, at the forest edge and especially by water.