Bitternut hickory  (Carya cordiformis)

The hickories (genus Carya) is divisible into two groups: (1) the “pecan hickories,” with thin-husked fruit and 13 or more leaflets, and (2) the “true hickories,” with thick-husked fruits and fewer (5-9) leaflets. Our common member of the pecan hickory group is bitternut hickory, Carya cordiformis.

King Midas would have gone nuts over this one. Gold buds! These brightly colored, naked-appearing (although technically they are scaly, with leaf-like bud scales) buds are distinctive. Also, this is a true terminal bud –see how it’s and points straight forward (plus there is no tip scar).


Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) is a type of “pecan hickory”)

Here’s a lateral view showing both a branch bud and, below it, a flower bud.


Bitternut hickpry (Carya cordiformis) lateral leaf and flower buds