The leaves of the bitternut hickory are compound and are arranged in an altermate formation, meaning the leaves grow one after another, on opposite sides of the twig. These leaves have the ability to grow up to 10 in long. These leaves are generally a dark green color on their upper surfaces, and are lighter in their lower surfaces.  Bitternut hickory have both male and female catkins of flowers. The species produces male catkins that can be 3-4 inches long. It also produces female flowers that are much shorter. The twig itself has 3 lobed leaf scars amongst a yellowish-brown coloring. The twigs are moderately thick, but can also appear slim.  The bark , however, is thin and also takes on a grey shade as opposed to brown or yellow. The ridges in the bark are not particuarly deep and seem to cross over over each other. This tree also produces a spherical, nut covered by a leathery dehiscent covering.  The fruit has a bitter taste, hence the name bitternut hickory.

Ecological Notes: 

This tree generally grows in moist soil, near streams so that has plenty of access to nutrients and moisture. This tree can also be found in dryer conditions, showing that it has a deal of resistence to enviornmental pressures, but is suspitible to fire damage.

Economic Uses: 

This tree has many economical uses. It is great fire wood but it also is good for building materials and the tools used to build them. The wood's smoke is also used as a flavoring in meats.

Student Sketches: 

Sketch by David Weathers


Page by Ariel Chu • WORKS CITED: [1] Virginia Tech: [2] Go Botany: [3] USDA Forest Service:

Page by David Weathers - Work Cited in References

Page By David Weathers: