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BITTERNUT HICKORY

Height: about 50 m (164 ft)Leaf: The leaves of Bitternut are 30 cm long, odd pinnate, up to 17 cm (6.7 in) long with 7 -11 lanceolate leaflets. The leaf margin is serrated.Leaf Shape:  imparipinnateLeaf margin: serratedLeaf position: alternate Fall foliage: bright yellow – brownFlowering: MayBlossom color: yellow-greenBlossom description: The flowers are small green-yellow catkins.Gender distribution: monoecious Fruit: The nuts are in a nutshell. The nut is large up to 3 cm (1.2 in). The nut has a bitter taste.Branches: The branches are first brown and hairy, later smooth and gray. The buds are yellowish with glandular scales.Bark: The bark is brownish and scaly.Root: Deep-rooting plant, root suckering Location: Sun to half-shadeSoil: humid and tolerates poor soilsph value: slightly acidic – slightly alkaline Usage: single tree

Bitternut is used for lumber and pulpwood. Because bitternut hickory wood is hard and durable, it is used for furniture, paneling, dowels, tool handles and ladders. Like other hickories, the wood is used for smoking meat, and by Native Americans for making bows. Bitternut hickory seeds are eaten by rabbits, and both its seeds and bark are eaten by other wildlife.

Field Observations: 

Easily recognized by the sulfur yellow terminal buds.  Nuts are sheathed by a thin, papery husk.

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