Pignut Hickory

Carya glabra

Family Juglandaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Alternate*, pinnately* compound* leaves of 5 to 7 hairless, toothed, lance-shaped leaflets*. The end leaflets are usually larger than the leaflets closer to the base of the leaf.
Twigs/ Buds: Twigs slender, reddish brown, and smooth. Buds* hairless and stout, with several outer scales showing. Once the outer scales drop off in autumn, silky, gray hairs are visible on the buds.
Bark: The bark is a dark brown-gray, with medium-depth yet smooth ridges. Does not peel away, like the Shagbark Hickory bark, but remains tight to the side of the tree.
Fruit: Small, elliptical nuts appear in autumn, ½ to 1¼ inches ( 1-3 centimeters) in diameter. The outer shell of each nut is a thin, light brown casing that can split naturally into four equal parts (though they do not split down to the bottom of the nut). Inside the casing lies a small, sweet-meated, light brownish-yellow nut.
Size/ Shape: A large tree growing to 90 feet (27 meters) in height and somewhat conical.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

This tree can be found on the grasy hill overlooking upper K-Lot next to the Kalman science building, as well as throughout Sachar Woods.

The small nuts are edible, and should be collected after they have fallen to the ground. They can be eaten like walnuts, ground into a flour, or dipped in a sugar coating to make candy. The tree itself can also be tapped like a maple tree in order to make syrup.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.