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Bitternut Hickory

Carya cordiformis • Swamp Hickory


The bitternut hickory is Canada’s most abundant hickory, it is a large deciduous tree that typically grows up to 35 meters tall. It is the shortest-lived of the hickories, living to about 200 years. It grows best on low, moist ground or in rich soil in higher ground. It does well in shade, so it is usually found in groups of other trees. The hickories are easily identified through its compound leaves and large green nuts.


Deciduous, alternate, compound. 15-30 cm long. Pinnately divided into 7-11 leaflets. Dark shiny green leaves above, paler underneath. Hairy leaves with glands. Largest leaves at end of leaflet.


Greenish-brown, aromatic nuts. Smooth, thin shells. 4 ridges that split into 4 pieces.


Young bark grey and smooth. Mature bark with flat greyish ridges.


small wind-pollinated catkins, produced in spring

186 Trees

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