An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Bitternut Hickory Buds

1-10-14 bitternut  hickory 102Habitat, silhouette, bark and buds can all be helpful when identifying a tree in winter. Occasionally a species has one characteristic that is so distinctive, it serves as a diagnostic feature. The sulfur-yellow coloring of Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) buds is such a characteristic. Both lateral and terminal buds have a powdery coating which gives them a bright yellow appearance. Look for Bitternut Hickory on moist lowlands (hence, its other common name, Swamp Hickory) and rich uplands. Although humans find the nut of this hickory inedible, the smoke produced by burning its wood produces the best “hickory-smoked” hams and bacon.

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4 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Insectamonarca's Blog and commented:
    Nature in New England. Even winter tells us about the budding of spring.

    January 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm

  2. Rebecca Weil

    Mary, I so love your blog that I am tentative to even make a suggestion…but here it is! When you have a photo of an example, like today’s, would it be possible for you to also have a photo of the full hickory? Your observations are so perfect and keenly sighted, but when I show them to my boys I’d love to have them link with the full image of the animal or tree as well as the focused piece. Now that I’ve intruded in your morning with a suggestion (I am not a blog follower, except for two blogs, but imagine suggestions must get annoying) – Thank you again for all of your inspiration. I will donate again this year and keep following your wonderful blog. Could you please remind me of your mailing address, and I will send a check. Best wishes, Rebecca Weil

    January 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    • Excellent suggestions, Rebecca. Whenever possible, I shall try to do this, but photographically it’s not always quite as simple as it sounds! Mary

      January 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm

  3. Sandy Batchelder

    I’m glad to see this post identifying buds on a butternut hickory tree. The leafless winter trees show their “bones” and other characteristics like buds that give us more clues in identifying them.

    January 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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