Biternut Hickory

Carya cordiformis

Native to the eastern United states the bitternut hickory is one of the most common. It is a medium sized tree reaching to about 60’ tall and 25’ wide at maturity. Unlike most other hickories the nut has a very bitter taste, often too bad for human consumption. The bitternut has several key features that help to identify it. Like all hickories a good start is counting the number of leaflets on a leaf. The bitternut has 7-11 leaflets more, than shagbark or shellbark. Another key feature, especially when there are no leaves present is the bright, sulfur-colored buds present. Unlike shell and shagbark, the bitternut does not form shaggy bark but instead maintains the tight interlacing bark present at a young age.


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