Carya glabra

Pignut Hickory




  • native to Maine down through Florida
  • hardy to zone 4

Habit and Form

  • a tall, deciduous tree
  • cylindrical, narrow shape
  • 50' to 60' tall and 25' to 35' wide
  • medium to coarse texture
  • medium growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • odd pinnately compound, deciduous leaves
  • 5 to 7 leaflets, terminal leaflet is largest
  • 8" to 12" long
  • sharply toothed
  • yellow-green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow fall color
  • peak is in October


  • catkins
  • not ornamentally important


  • rounded nut
  • 0.75" to 1.25" in diameter
  • thick shell surrounds nut, splits at base when mature
  • edible
  • brown


  • smooth, gray-brown color
  • ridges
  • stout stems


  • prefers fertile, well-drained soil
  • has a large taproot, which makes transplanting difficult
  • full sun to partial shade

Landscape Uses

  • for fruit
  • for unique bark
  • naturalized areas
  • for barbecues (hickory smoked meat)


  • fruit can be a litter problem
  • few pest and disease problems

ID Features

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • odd pinnately compound leaf with 5 to 7 leaflets, terminal leaflet is largest
  • edible round nut
  • sharply toothed leaves


  • by seed


  • none

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.