Pignut hickory is a large tree that has a tall, but relatively narrow crown. The bark is tight rather than shaggy and fall color is golden. The nuts produced are bitter tasting.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Dry soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Fall color
Season of Interest:
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Migrant birds
Tree & Plant Care
Spring transplant only; develops a long taproot, making it difficult to transplant.
Like all hickories, debris from its fruit drop from late summer throughout autumn, making fall cleanup in urban areas more challenging.
Disease, pests, and problems
Potential problems include anthracnose, hickory bark beetles, galls.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Found in drier, upland habitats
Bark color and texture
Bark is dark gray with interlacing ridges. With age it takes on a very slightly shaggy look.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, compound leaves have 5 to 7 ovate leaflets. The end leaflet is the largest. The whole leaf measures 8 to 12 inches long.
Leaves medium green with serrate margins. Fall color is golden brown.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Relatively inconspicuous; tiny male flowers in drooping clusters of catkins; small green female flowers in spikes.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Pear-shaped fruits are nuts with four-ridged husks. The husks do not separately easily from the nut
The nuts are bitter.