Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bitternut Hickory, Yellow-bud Hickory
Carya cordiformis

Family: Juglandaceae (joo-glan-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carya (KAIR-yuh) (Info)
Species: cordiformis (kord-ih-FOR-miss) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By riversandbar
Thumbnail #1 of Carya cordiformis by riversandbar

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Thumbnail #2 of Carya cordiformis by ViburnumValley

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Thumbnail #3 of Carya cordiformis by ViburnumValley

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Thumbnail #5 of Carya cordiformis by Rickwebb

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Thumbnail #6 of Carya cordiformis by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #7 of Carya cordiformis by Rickwebb

There are a total of 9 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 20, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I see this species the most growing in draining wet or moist soils in lowlands, but I have seen some in well-drained uphill locations. Handsome tree with fantastic texture! Good yellow fall color. Good for wildlife. Slow growing of about 6 to 9"/yr and develops a big taproot like most hickory and lives about 200 years. Sometimes offered for planting by native nurseries in containers. Messy for residential landscapes, but magnificent like oak trees. Can tolerate some soil compaction nearby with new construction.

Positive plant_it On May 19, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Native to eastern North America.

Nuts are bitter and squirrels tend to avoid them. Serves as a primary host for some magnificent moths. Larval Host: Luna, funeral dagger, and giant regal. Attracts birds and butterflies.

A slender shade tree, bitter-nut hickory is one of the largest hickories, growing 50-100 ft. tall. Bitter-nut hickory typically develops several primary ascending limbs, forming an arched shape. The deciduous tree produces long, graceful catkins and large, hard-shelled nuts. The pinnately-compound leaves attain a bright, clear yellow early in the fall. It holds its fall foliage longer than other hickories.

This is the most rapid growing of all hickory trees. It is difficult to transplant because of a large taproot, but perhaps less so than other hickories.

Positive melody On Jul 8, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A wonderful tree that wildlife depends on. The nuts are bitter to humans, but deer and other animals use them for winter forage.

Similar to the Pecan in appearance, but it's range is much more widespread,even into southern Canada.

Height 50' to 60', but can get as tall as 100' in the right conditions.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

North Port, Florida
Hinsdale, Illinois
Valparaiso, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Chaska, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska
Raleigh, North Carolina
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Elmwood, Wisconsin

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