Water walnut: plant photo, description

Water walnut: plant photo, description

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There are a large number of plants listed in the Red Book, the Chilim water walnut is the most unusual of them. Ripe fruits have an attractive and at the same time strange appearance - there are shoots that resemble horns. Due to the unique beneficial properties, the fruits began to be actively used in all spheres of life, which led to the disappearance of the plant.

Why was the water nut so named

The word "Chilim" comes from the Turkic language. If we take into account the data of the dictionary published by M. Fasmer, then translated into Russian it means “smoking pipe”. In botany, this plant belongs to the genus Rogulnikov, which has a different name, or more precisely, water walnut. Today, the Chilim water nut has several names:

  • floating flyer;
  • devil's nut (this is due to the processes that resemble horns in appearance);
  • water nut (as it grows in the water column);
  • floating water nut.

This species is so ancient that it is no longer possible to say exactly where Chilim came from and in what territory it was first discovered.

What does a water nut look like?

If we take into account the photo and description of the Chilim water nut, then it is worth noting that the process of fruit formation begins in autumn. The fruits grow small, in diameter they reach up to 2.5 cm, in length - a maximum of 4 cm. Since the fruits are quite heavy, Chilim has to additionally build up air cavities, thanks to which the nuts do not sink in water and are on the surface.

Up to 15 fruits can appear on each Chilim. The presence of a dense shell and frightening growths in the form of horns protect the fruits from being eaten by birds, fish and other wild animals. Ripe fruits can survive even in late autumn, when most of the plants are already rotting by this time.

In spring, the fruit germinates, which leads to the formation of a new nut. If the conditions for germination are unsuitable, then Chilim can lie at the bottom of the reservoir for several decades, while its ability to germinate will not be lost. When the shell is opened, a large white seed can be seen occupying the entire available space.

Where Chilim water walnut grows in Russia

Chilim appeared over 25 million years ago. Primitive people ate this product raw. There is evidence that in China this type of plant was specially grown, after which it was used for medical purposes and cooking.

Even in Russia, Chilim was eaten raw, fried and baked. The dried fruits were ground to flour. Until the late 19th - early 20th centuries, this plant could be found on the territory of Russia and Ukraine. As a result of the fact that climatic conditions began to undergo changes, this led to the disappearance of the Chilim nut.

On the territory of Russia, Chilim can be found:

  • in Georgia;
  • on the territory of Kazakhstan;
  • in the Far East;
  • in the southern part of Western Siberia;
  • in the basins of the Dnieper.

As a rule, Chilim grows in the stagnant waters of lakes and swamps, in the floodplains of fresh rivers with a slow current and a muddy bottom. This plant actively grows in clean water bodies, in the presence of pollution it begins to die.

Important! Water walnut is listed in the Red Book, most attempts by botanists to grow Chilim at home have not been successful.

Description of water walnut

Chilim belongs to the genus of rogulniks of the Derbennikov family. The plant is annual and cannot be grown in the climatic conditions of Northern Europe, since flowering is possible only in hot weather.

The stems are rather large and flexible, reaching up to 5 m in length. The leaves have the shape of an oval or a rhombus, along the edges there is a border of denticles, which in appearance resembles a birch. In the process of development, the water nut can take root in the soil or grow in the water column.

Thanks to the airy tissue located on the rosette of leaves, the nut does not sink in water and is located on the very surface of the reservoir. In the summer, the flowering process begins, as a result of which small white flowers with black petals appear. The buds are constantly under water, and you can see them only early in the morning or late in the evening.

Pollination can be carried out even when the buds are closed under water. The plant is self-pollinating.

Attention! At the time of the onset of cold weather, Chilim dies.

Benefits of water nut fruits

On the territory of Russia, water walnut is used for medicinal purposes not as often as in Asia, where local healers simply cannot do without this product. There is a large list of medical indications according to which it is necessary to use Chilim:

  • diseases of the kidneys and genitourinary system;
  • since nuts have an antiviral effect, they are used in the fight against herpes, boils, purulent sore throat;
  • with diarrhea, it is recommended to consume fresh fruits or juice;
  • allows you to overcome tumors;
  • normalizes the work of the gallbladder;
  • promotes rapid healing of open wounds on the body;
  • has an analgesic effect;
  • increases efficiency several times;
  • allows you to overcome stress;
  • medicines based on water walnut Chilim are taken after serious illness to restore the body.

In folk medicine, not only kernels are used, but also stems, leaves and flowers.

Attention! Despite the fact that there has not been a single case of individual intolerance from the use of Chilim, it is recommended that you first consult with your doctor.

Floating flyer application

Chilim water nut is very popular with healers, as a result of which it is used in folk medicine. In addition, it can be used in cooking and cosmetology. Healing decoctions, tinctures and juices can be prepared on the basis of this product. You can take the prepared products inside, use as lotions and rinse the mouth. For cosmetic purposes, Chilim helps fight acne.

In the Altai Territory, Chilim is dried and used to make amulets. In addition, pendants and souvenirs are made. In animal husbandry, water walnut is used as animal feed, but since this product is rarely found today, this practice has been practically forgotten.

Advice! Only ripe fruits can be eaten. They can be added to desserts and salads.

In folk medicine

In folk medicine, all parts of the water nut are used for the preparation of medicines. This product allows you to fight the following diseases:

  • diseases associated with blood vessels;
  • infection of the genitourinary organs;
  • food poisoning;
  • to boost the immune system;
  • eye diseases;
  • nervous exhaustion;
  • used for insect bites and poisonous snakes.

The juice of the leaves is used for diseases of the eyes and throat, for inflammation of the skin. With angina, it is enough to dilute 15 ml of juice in 150 ml of water and gargle 3 times a day.

An infusion based on dried leaves and flowers of Chilim is taken as a general tonic. Such a remedy is great for a weakened immune system, diarrhea, inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. Before you start using this product for medicinal purposes, it is recommended that you first consult with your doctor, which will avoid causing harm to health, instead of the expected benefit.

In cooking

Chilim can be eaten fresh or added to salads and first courses. The fruit is quite juicy and has a pleasant, pronounced taste. Chilim nuts can be boiled in slightly salted water or baked in the oven. A baked nut tastes like a chestnut.

If possible, you can dry the fruits and then grind them to a state of flour. This flour can be used for baking, which is great for making pancakes, bread, pancakes.

If necessary, you can stew nuts with apples:

  1. Take 100 g of nuts.
  2. Peeled from the shell.
  3. Stew in a container with boiling water.
  4. Peel the same number of apples, cut into small pieces and add to the nuts.
  5. Stew until fully cooked.

You can add granulated sugar and a small piece of butter to taste.

In other areas

Few people know that Chilim water walnut has tonic properties, as a result of which this product is often used as an additive for cosmetic products. If rashes appear on the skin of the face, then they can be pointwise treated with the juice of the rogulnik, in addition, the juice is ideal for caring for oily and combination skin types.

Due to its unusual and attractive appearance, water walnut is used to make souvenirs, pendants, and amulets for the home.

Growing a water nut as a plant for ponds

This type of plant, if necessary, can be grown at home, using for these purposes a large aquarium or a reservoir, the bottom of which is covered with a dense layer of soil. For germination, the creation of suitable conditions is required, the temperature regime should be in the range from + 23 ° С to + 25 ° С.

Seeds are planted in the spring. Before planting the planting material, you must first place the seeds in camphor alcohol and carefully remove the shell from the germination site. For planting, use a small container filled with silt.

If everything went well, then after the appearance of the first sprout, the development of the nut will begin. As soon as the first leaves appear, it is worth transplanting Chilim into an aquarium or any other body of water. It is important to take into account that the plant cannot grow in dirty water, therefore it must be changed in the reservoir as often as possible. If no flowering is observed after 30 days, the nut will die.

Advice! To prevent the seeds from being eaten, it is worth excluding large mollusks from the reservoir.


Chilim water walnut is listed in the Red Book of Russia, but, despite this, it can be found on sale. If necessary, Chilim water walnut can be grown at home, following all growing recommendations.

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