Alphabetical Plant Listing

Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory)

Bitternut Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Bitternut, Pig Hickory, Pignut Hickory, Pignut, White Hickory, Red Hickory, Bitter Walnut, Bitter Pecan


One of the largest hickories, Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory) is a medium to large deciduous tree of broadly columnar habit with an irregular, oval-rounded crown and a long branch-free trunk. Its gray-brown bark is shallowly furrowed. The stiff, ascending branches are clothed with long, slender, light to medium green leaves, 6-12 in. (15-30 cm), each leaf having 5-9 ovate leaflets. They turn bright yellow in the fall. Several species of beautiful moth are attracted to the foliage. Inconspicuous greenish yellow flowers appear in spring, the male flowers in long, graceful catkins and the female flowers in short spikes. The female flowers are followed by bitter hard-shelled nuts. Bitternut Hickory fruit is generally considered unpalatable to wildlife and supposedly even the squirrels tend to avoid them. Bitternut Hickory is the shortest lived of the hickories, living to about 200 years. This ornamental tree casts an open shade that allows grass or ornamentals to thrive underneath.

  • Grows up to 50-80 ft. tall (15-24 m) and 30-50 ft. wide (9-15 m). 
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in humusy, rich, moist to wet, well-drained soils.
  • No routine pruning necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested or crossing shoots.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for crown gall, powdery mildews and leaf spot.
  • Propagate by seed sown in situ as soon as ripe; seedlings rapidly develop a deep tap root and resent transplanting.
  • Native to eastern North America.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Carya - Hickories
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 50' – 80' (15m – 24m)
Spread 30' – 50' (9m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

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123rf, Plant Image Library, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Carya - Hickories
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 50' – 80' (15m – 24m)
Spread 30' – 50' (9m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Carya - Hickories

Guides with Carya - Hickories

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