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Pignut Hickory, A Common Tree in North America

Carya glabra, A Top 100 Common Tree in North America


Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) is a common but not abundant species in the oak-hickory forest association in Eastern United States. Other common names are pignut, sweet pignut, coast pignut hickory, smoothbark hickory, swamp hickory, and broom hickory. The pear-shaped nut ripens in September and October and is an important part of the diet of many wild animals. The wood is used for a variety of products, including fuel for home heating.

1. The Silviculture of Pignut Hickory

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Pignut hickory grows in a humid climate with an average annual precipitation of 30 to 80 inches of which 20 to 40 inches is rain during the growing season. Pignut hickory is an important shade tree in wooded suburban areas over most of the range but is seldom planted as an ornamental tree.

2. The Images of Pignut Hickory

Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of pignut hickory. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Juglandales > Juglandaceae > Carya glabra (P. Mill.) Pignut hickory is also sometimes called pignut, sweet pignut, coast pignut hickory, smoothbark hickory, swamp hickory, and broom hickory.

3. The Range of Pignut Hickory

Range of Pignut Hickory
The range of pignut hickory covers nearly all of eastern United States. It extends from Massachusetts and the southwest corner of New Hampshire westward through southern Vermont and extreme southern Ontario to central Lower Michigan and Illinois; southward through extreme southeastern Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas to Louisiana and parts of East Texas. The species grows eastward through Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast to Mississippi and Alabama into central Florida.

4. Pignut Hickory at Virginia Tech

Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, 8 to 12 inches long, with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets, leaflets are lanceolate and serrate, rachis slender and glabrous, green above and paler below.

Twig: Moderately stout to slender (when compared to the other hickories) and glabrous; leaf scars are 3-lobed to cordate - best described as a "monkey face"; terminal bud is small (1/4 inch), ovate and light brown in color.

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