bitternut hickory
Carya cordiformis

Bitternut hickory is found throughout a broad range of eastern and midwestern forests. Though not equal to other hickories in terms of wood strength and wildlife value, bitternut hickory is often sold and used similarly.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Bitternut hickory is used for lumber, furniture, dowels, tool handles, ladders, paneling, flooring, pallets, crates, pulpwood, fuelwood, charcoal, and the smoking of meats.


Wildlife Value
      The extremely bitter nuts are not a favorite of wildlife, but they are still eaten.
          Attracts: squirrel, rabbits, beavers, small rodents and mammals

Regeneration methods
      Clearcutting with some amount of bitternut advanced regeneration results in a fast growing stand of saplings. Copious stump-sprouting allows bitternut to withstand browsing, breakage, drought, and fire.

Fun facts
The wood of bitternut hickory is very dense and is considered a high quality firewood. Leaf litter from bitternut hickory adds calcium to the soil. Early settlers used oil extracted from the nuts to fuel oil lamps.
Carya: Greek "karya or kaura" (walnut -Juglans regia) / cordiformis: heart-shaped (fruit) Latin "cordis" (heart) and "forma" (shaped)
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu