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Pignut Hickory

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Pignut Hickory


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The Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) is a medium to large, deciduous tree with a straight trunk and rounded crown that typically grows 50-80’ tall. It is primarily native to hillsides and ridges in somewhat dry soils, but may also be found in some moist soils. It grows throughout the eastern and central U. S., with concentrations in Appalachian forests and the Ohio River valley. Compound, odd-pinnate, dark yellowish-green leaves (each to 6-12” long) have 5-7, toothed, ovate-lanceolate leaflets. Leaflets grow 3-6” long. Leaves turn an attractive yellow in fall. Non-showy, monoecious, yellowish-green flowers bloom in April-May, with the male flowers in drooping catkins (to 3” long) and the female flowers on short spikes. Female flowers give way to fruits (rounded nuts), but only after the tree reaches about 25 years old. Each nut is encased in a ridged husk which partially splits open in fall when ripe. Although the nuts are usually bitter and unpalatable to humans, some mammals (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and black bears) eat them. Hogs were found by early U.S. settlers to eat the nuts, thus giving rise to the common name of pignut hickory. Settlers also split saplings to make brooms, hence the additional common name of broom hickory. Best grown in humusy, rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best performance occurs in moist soils. Plants are generally intolerant of shade. This tree needs a large space within which to grow. It may be difficult to transplant because of its long taproot.


Zones 4-9

Ships bare root

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