Pignut Hickory

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carya_glabra.jpg
Attribution: Supergrosfatty [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Latin (group) name: Carya
Latin (specific) name: Carya Glabra (Miller) Sweet - (Hicoria Glabra (Miller) Britton)
Average max height: 50' to 10'
Average diameter: 15" to 30"
Official state tree: none
Category: American Woods
The Hardwoods - Broadleafs
Range map: Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carya_glabra_map.png
Attribution: U.S. Geological Survey [Public domain]

The Tree

Pignut Hickory is a tree 50 to 100 feet tall, frequently gnarled, with a divided short trunk of 15 to 30 inches in diameter. The branches point upward with drooping ends. The dark yellowish-green foliage is dense and when crushed is fragrant. The bark, a dark grayish color, is comparatively thin, hard, firm, divided by small fissures, and sometimes broken into small plates or flattened interlocking ridges. The nuts have a four-ridged, smooth, thin, pear-shaped hard shell, and a small, sweet or slightly bitter kernel which is not easily removed. The husk is long, thin and smooth, and easily removed since it splits into quarters nearly to the base. The tree is subject to attack by beetles and wood boring insects.

pignut hickory foliage
Pignut Hickory foliage
pignut hickory tree bark
Pignut Hickory tree bark

Common Names in Use

  • Pignut Hickory
  • Bitternut
  • Black Hickory (Miss, Ind.)
  • Broom Hickory
  • Brown Hickory (Del., Miss., Tenn.)
  • Hard-shell (W. Va.)
  • Hickory (trade)
  • Pignut (N.H., Vt., Mass., Conn., R.I., N.Y., N.J., Pa., Del., W.Va., N.C., S.C., Fla., Ala., Miss., La., Tex., Ark., Ky., Mo., Ill., Ind., Ohio, Ontario and hort.)
  • Red Hickory (Del.)
  • Switch-bud Hickory (Ala)
  • White Hickory (N.H.)

Growth Range

The natural growth range of Pignut Hickory is from Maine to southern Ontario, and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. The hickories grow in mixture with other hardwoods in deep fertile soils.

The Wood

The wood of Pignut Hickory is very similar to that of other hickories, being close-grained, very hard, tough, strong and resilient. The heartwood is a light tan to creamy color and the wide sapwood is nearly white. It is the heaviest of all the hickories. It works hard with hand tools, but machines well and finishes very smoothly with a glossy sheen.

wood image
Carya Glabra (Mill) Britt. by Hough


Like other hickories it is a favorite handle wood for axes, hammers, hatchets and picks. It is used for furniture manufacture, sporting and athletic equipment, wheels, spokes, agricultural implements, dowels and skewers, baskets, dairy and poultry supplies, shuttles, spools, toys and wooden ware. It is also excellent for smoking meat.

File References

  ID T Name Size Last modified Actions
503 Carya Glabra (Miller) Sweet (Hicoria Glabra (Miller) Britton)
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carya_glabra.jpg
Attribution: Supergrosfatty [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
292.22 KB 12-07-2019
504 Pignut Hickory Range Map
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carya_glabra_map.png
Attribution: U.S. Geological Survey [Public domain]
99.66 KB 12-07-2019
505 Pignut Hickory Tree Bark
Pignut Hickory tree bark
Reference: Pignut Hickory. http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Clapp_Hansen_Siegel/Pages/Pignut_Hickory.html#Bark. Accessed 7 Dec. 2019.
150.90 KB 12-07-2019
506 Pignut Hicorky Foliage
Pignut Hickory foliage
Reference: Sweet Pignut Hickory (Carya Ovalis). https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/sweet_pignut.html. Accessed 7 Dec. 2019.
80.91 KB 12-07-2019
507 65. Carya Glabra (Mill) Britt.
Romeyn B. Hough's American Woods, Volume III plate 65
Reference: Plate_65.Jpg (JPEG Image, 1862 × 2690 Pixels). https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/forestry/hough/vlgimage/plate_65.jpg. Accessed 7 Dec. 2019.
493.26 KB 12-15-2019


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

Contributors to this page: admin and John Morris .
Page last modified on Tuesday February 8, 2022 04:51:03 PST by admin.