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Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory)

Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut Hickory, Coast Pignut Hickory, Pignut, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Red Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Switch Hickory, Switchbud Hickory, Carya glabra var. glabra, Carya glabra var. hirsuta, Carya glabra var. megacarpa, Carya leiodermis, Carya magnifloridana, Carya microcarpa, Carya ovalis var. hirsuta, Carya ×ovalis var. hirsuta, Hicoria austrina, Hicoria glabra, Hicoria glabra var. hirsuta

Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut Hickory, Coast Pignut Hickory, Pignut, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Red Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Switch Hickory, Switchbud Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree
Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut Hickory, Coast Pignut Hickory, Pignut, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Red Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Switch Hickory, Switchbud Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree
Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut Hickory, Coast Pignut Hickory, Pignut, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Red Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Switch Hickory, Switchbud Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree
Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut Hickory, Coast Pignut Hickory, Pignut, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Red Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Switch Hickory, Switchbud Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree

Long-lived, Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory) is a slow-growing deciduous tree with a straight trunk and a narrow oblong crown with slender, contorted branches. Its gray bark is shallowly ridged and furrowed. The short, picturesque branches are clothed with pinnately compound leaves, 6-12 in. long (15-30 cm), each with 5-7 toothed and ovate leaflets. Emerging burgundy, the leaves mature to lustrous dark green as the season progresses, turning a rich, golden-yellow color in the fall. Several species of magnificent moths are attracted to the foliage. Inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers appear in spring, the male flowers in hanging catkins, 3 in. long (7 cm), and the female flowers in short spikes. The female flowers are followed by hard, pear-shaped nuts (on trees over 25 years old). Bitter and astringent, the Pignut Hickory fruit is generally considered unpalatable to humans. High in protein and fats, it attracts birds and mammals. Native to the eastern and central U. S., Pignut Hickory occurs naturally in mesic to xeric mixed woodlands, bottomland woodlands, wet hammocks, on stable dunes, and rocky hillsides. Its heavy, hard, strong, tough, and elastic wood is used to make sporting goods, agricultural implements, and tool handles. Pignut Hickory is used as a shade tree throughout much of its range.

  • Grows up to 50-80 ft. tall (15-24 m) and 30-40 ft. wide (9-12 m).
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in humusy, rich, moist, well-drained soils. Pignut Hickory is tolerant of shade in the Southeast but relatively intolerant in the northeastern portion of its range.
  • No routine pruning is necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested, or crossing shoots.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for hickory bark beetle, pecan weevil, borers, twig girdler, heart rot, anthracnose, leaf blotch, powdery mildew, leaf spot, canker, catkin blight, crown gall, and scab.
  • Propagate by seed or hardwood cuttings. Most easily grown from fresh seed sown immediately after collection or stratified and sown in spring.
  • Difficult to transplant because of its large taproot.
  • Native to eastern North America.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Juglandaceae
Genus Carya
Common names Hickory, Pignut Hickory
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 50' - 80'
(15.2m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory)
Juglans nigra (Black Walnut)
Carya illinoinensis (Hardy Pecan)
Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)

Recommended Companion Plants

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)
Quercus velutina (Black Oak)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)
Sabal palmetto (Cabbage Palm)
Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Spectacular Trees for Vibrant Fall Colors: A Gardener’s Guide
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.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Juglandaceae
Genus Carya
Common names Hickory, Pignut Hickory
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 50' - 80'
(15.2m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Carya (Hickory)
Not sure which Carya (Hickory) to pick?
Compare Now

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