pignut, brown hickory

Carya glabra (Miller) Sweet

Pignut hickory is a fair-sized, upland species preferring dry ridges and hillsides throughout the state, except in the Adirondack region where it is found only at the lower elevations. The wood is strong and very tough. Its uses are similar to those of shagbark hickory.

Bark - typically close-fitting, dark gray in color, marked with shallow furrows and narrow ridges which are seldom shaggy, though sometimes becoming detached at end. The variation in bark characteristics of the pignut hickory is very pronounced.

Twigs - comparatively slender, smooth, tough, and pliable, reddish brown to gray in color.

Winter buds - small, oval, blunt-pointed, covered with reddish brown scales, the outer pair of which often drop off in winter; terminal bud less than 1/2 inch long, much smaller than the terminal bud of the shagbark hickory.

Leaves - alternate, compound, 8 to 12 inches long, with 5 to 7 leaflets all of which are alike or nearly alike in size.

Fruit - a pear-shaped to nearly round, thin-husked, buff-colored nut without ridges, 1 inch long, thick shelled. Kernel - at first sweet, later somewhat bitter. Husk - contrasted with shagbark hickory, all or part usually clings to the nut after it has fallen to the ground.

Distinguishing features - 3 to 5 leaflets, all nearly same size; lacey design in bark; small terminal bud like that of rose.

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