Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Pignut Hickory

Pignut Hickory

Carya glabra

Full to part sun; moderately wet to moderately dry moisture level; tolerates a range of soils including sandy, rocky, silty clay and heavier clay soils; slightly acid to neutral pH.

50-80 feet height by 25-40 feet spread; yellow-green male catkins 3-4 inches long and female flowers in late April or May; brown, round nuts in a four-sectioned husk in August to October.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: Low maintenance. No serious insect or disease problems. Sensitive to root disturbances.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (90-120); moderately easy from seed.

Native Region: Statewide

A coarse-textured tree with short, picturesque branches, an irregular spreading crown, and showy fruit.   Needs a large space in which to grow. Not commonly used for ornamental purposes due to considerable litter from twigs, leaves and nut droppings but a desirable species in the naturalized setting. One of the most common hickories in the southern Appalachians. Native to floodplains and riverbanks as well as rocky or gravelly soils on ridges. Drought tolerant. Foliage turns a rich golden color in fall. Matures at 200 years and may survive to 300 years. Important timber tree whose strong, hard wood is used for tool handles and fuel. Common name refers to the small, bitter, thick-walled nuts that people chose to feed to pigs and other livestock.

Although seeds taste bitter and astringent to humans, birds and mammals love them. Leaves are larval food for a number of moth species, including the Luna moth. Attracts butterflies.

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tree;sun/shade;medium;sand
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