Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carya cordiformis (Wangenh.) K. Koch
- Family: Walnut (Juglandaceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this hickory are its slender, mustard-yellow buds
and its usually curved leaflets in 7's or 9's.
- Habitat: Low woods, slopes and bottoms, along streams, river bottoms, and extending into
- Habit: Tree up to 115 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 3.3 feet; crown broadly rounded.
- Bark: Brown, thin, separating into small, platy scales or shallow ridges and fissures.
- Twigs: Slender, grayish or orange-brown, smooth; buds valvate, narrow, slender, pointed,
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound with 7-9 leaflets; leaflets lanceolate, curved, pointed
at the tip, tapering or rounded at the base, toothed, smooth on the upper surface, usually hairy
on the lower surface, up to 6 inches long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne separately but on the same tree, appearing after the leaves
have begun to unfold; male flowers in slender, drooping spikes; female flowers in groups of 1
- Sepals: 2-4, minute, united to each other.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3-10.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; styles usually 2.
- Fruits: More or less spherical, up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter; the husk thin, yellowish, with
4 distinct ridges extending about halfway down; nut somewhat flattened; seed very bitter.
- Notes: The wood of the bitter-nut hickory is used for fuel and fence posts.
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