The rich yellow leaves of this common hickory of the southern Appalachian area usually have only 5 ovate-lanceolate leaflets; the terminal leaflet is the largest and is 10-18cm (4-7") long. The bark of the Pignut Hickory is light to dark gray with prominent ridges and furrows, but it does not become "shaggy." The obovoid or slightly top-shaped fruits are 2.5-5cm (1-2") long with a relatively thin husk around a thick-shelled nut that may be sweet or bitter.
The often bountiful crop of nuts is an important part of the mast crop which feeds the squirrels, chipmunks, and other woodland rodents. The strong white wood of hickory is used for tool and implement handles, wagon wheel spokes, skis, furniture, paneling, lumber and heavy timbers. The oil of the nuts has been used medicinally and the Indians made a "milk" by pounding the sweet, oily kernels in hot water.
Other common hickories include Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata), Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa) and Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis).
compiled from "Fall Colors & Woodland Harvests" & "Fall Color Finder" by Laurel Hill Press
© 1999 NCNatural
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