Pignut Hickory

Carya glabra

Family: Juglandaceae (joo-glan-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carya (KAIR-yuh) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)
Synonym:Carya porcina
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


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)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Mid Spring




Good Fall Color

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Gaylesville, Alabama

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Winterthur, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Tunnel Hill, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Mandeville, Louisiana

Glouster, Ohio

West Chester, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

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Gardeners' Notes:


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

A handsome tree I've seen growing in upland woods. Native from central MI to central FL, from MO & ILL to New England and the Atlantic Coast. Slow growing about 6 to 8"/yr and living to about 300 years. Develops good golden fall color like other hickory. Develops a big taproot. It is offered by some native plant nurseries in containers.


On Nov 12, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of the most visible trees along the roadsides in Autumn. The Pignut hickory has an intense color that sets it apart from the rest of the forest. The vibrant mustard colored leaves look almost electric.

I'm not sure that one would be a good choice for a small property as the leaves and nuts can get pretty messy as they fall, but for larger areas, one could be stunning if it were set away from gutters and walkways.


On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree grows well in fairly rich, well drained to dry soils. It is native from Maine to Florida.

The gray bark, sometimes smooth, may be marked in a sort of diamond pattern by shallow furrows and narrow ridges. Wood is great for smoking meat.

It does not transplant easily as it has a large taproot.

Fall color is very pretty with yellow leaves. Prefers full sun to partial shade.


On Aug 29, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

The pignut is also called the redheart hickory, and grows throughout the Southeastern USA. The tree is usually about 60 to 80 feet tall, but can grow to over 100 feet in ideal conditions. It has five leaflets and the outer husk of the nut is thin. The nuts are small, unridged, and often bitter. Unfortunately I believe I have several of these trees growing on my property, as I would far rather have the better tasting shagbark (C. ovata) or shellbark (C. laciniosa).

The Indians used hickory wood for their bows and for handles for tools, as did the early settlers.


On Aug 28, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

So named because pigs are often allowed to forage for the bitter nuts as they fall to the ground.

Native Americans leached out the bitter compounds, then ground the nuts into a meal or flour. The hardwood, like most hickories, is suitable for tool handles and cabinetry, although its use is declining.