Bitternut Hickory

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The Bitternut Hickory, Carya cordiformis, is also known as the Yellow-bud Hickory tree. Other common names are Swamp Hickory and Pignut Hickory. The yellow bud makes it difficult to mistake for another species and combined with the alternate compound leaves and relatively large nuts, it is very distinctive.

The nuts are reported to be bitter, as one of the common names suggests. The lighter colored shallow cracks in the younger bark are roughly similar to those of young Shagbark Hickory, but the mature bark of Yellow-bud Hickory does not split so deeply.

This deciduous tree is found on moist, fertile soils in the east and central U.S. and is intolerant of shade. Bitternut Hickory trees are known for their hard wood. The wood is used for pulpwood and furniture.

This deciduous species displays a leaf color of medium green to dark green. The fall color is often green to chartreuse, but sometimes is a brilliant golden-yellow in excellent seasons. It is a fast growing, adaptable tree. This hickory is self-pollinating. 


Bitternut Hickory Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-9
Growing Zones 4-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Carya cordiformis
Foliage Green
Mature Height 50 - 70 feet
Mature Spread 30 - 40 feet
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth Rate Fast
Fall Color Yellow