Pignut White Hickory
=Habitat and Range.=--Woods, dry hills, and uplands.
Niagara peninsula and along Lake Erie.
Maine,--frequent in the southern corner of York county; New
Hampshire,--common toward the coast and along the lower Merrimac valley;
abundant on hills near the Connecticut river, but only occasional above
Bellows Falls; Vermont,--Marsh Hill, Ferrisburgh (Brainerd); W.
Castleton and Pownal (Egglest
n); Massachusetts,--common eastward; along
the Connecticut river valley and some of the tributary valleys more
common than the shagbark; Rhode Island and Connecticut,--common.
South to the Gulf of Mexico; west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas,
Indian territory, and Texas.
=Habit.=--A stately tree, 50-65 feet high, reaching in the Ohio basin a
height of 120 feet; trunk 2-5 feet in diameter, gradually tapering,
surmounted by a large, oblong, open, rounded, or pyramidal head, often
of great beauty.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk dark ash-gray, uniformly but very coarsely
roughened, in old trees smooth or broken into rough and occasionally
projecting plates; branches gray; leaf-scars rather prominent; season's
shoots smooth or nearly so, purplish changing to gray, with numerous
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Lateral buds smaller than in C. tomentosa,
oblong, pointed; terminal, globular, with rounded apex; scales numerous,
the inner reddish, lengthening to 1 or 2 inches, not dropping till after
expansion of the leaves. Leaves pinnately compound, alternate, 10-18
inches long; petiole long and smooth; stipules none; leaflets 5-7,
opposite, 2-5 inches long, yellowish-green above, paler beneath, turning
to an orange brown in autumn, smooth on both sides; outline, the three
upper obovate, the two lower oblong-lanceolate, all taper-pointed; base
obtuse, sometimes acute, especially in the odd leaflet.
=Inflorescence.=--May. Sterile and fertile flowers on the same tree,
appearing when the leaves are fully grown,--sterile at the base of the
season's shoots, in pendulous, downy, slender catkins, 3-5 inches long,
usually in threes, branching umbel-like from a common peduncle; scales
3-lobed, nearly glabrous, lobes of nearly equal length, pointed, the
middle narrower; stamens mostly 4, anthers yellowish, beset with white
hairs: fertile flowers at the ends of the season's shoots; calyx
4-toothed, pubescent, adherent to the ovary; corolla none; stigmas 2.
=Fruit.=--October. Single or in pairs, sessile on a short, terminal
stalk, shape and size extremely variable, pear-shaped, oblong, round, or
obovate, usually about 1-1/2 inches in diameter: husk thin, green
turning to brown, when ripe parting in four sections to the center and
sometimes nearly to the base: nut rather thick-shelled, not ridged, not
sharp-pointed: kernel much inferior in flavor to that of the shagbark.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in all
well-drained soils, but prefers a deep, rich loam; a desirable tree for
ornamental plantations, especially in lawns, as the deep roots do not
interfere with the growth of grass above them; ill-adapted, like all the
hickories, for streets, as the nuts are liable to cause trouble; less
readily obtainable in nurseries than the shellbark hickory and equally
difficult to transplant. Propagated from the seed.
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3, 4. Sterile flower, back view.
5. Fertile flower, side view.
6. Fruiting branch.
=Carya amara, Nutt.=
Hicoria minima, Britton.