Image for Bitternut hickory

Bitternut hickory

Scientific name

Carya cordiformis


Bitternut Hickory, also referred to as Swamp Hickory is a deciduous tree that can grow 15-25 m tall. The bark of young trees is pale grey with vertical lines, while mature bark has flat greyish ridges. Bitternut Hickory can be easily distinguished all year round by the sulphur-yellow coloured buds. The leaves are alternate, 15-30 cm long, and are compound with 7-11 leaflets. Bitternut Hickory produces a round, greenish-brown nut that has 4 ridges. The nuts have a bitter taste and are unpalatable to humans and several animals. Bitternut Hickory can live up to 200 years.

Planting conditions

Bitternut Hickory prefers moist conditions, but is also found on drier sites. It requires full to partial sun and soils that are well-drained. It thrives in rich loamy soils, but will also tolerate gravelly soil. It can naturally be found in rich woods, swamps, and hillsides.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Loamy
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Basic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 15-25 m
  • Spread:
    • 20 m