• Hardy
  • Canadian Grown
  • Value Packs
  • Shipped in ON, QC, NB, NS, PE


Carya cordiformis

Bitternut Hickory, Swamp Hickory

Main interest:
native, slow-growing, long-lived, yellow leaves in the fall, tolerates wet areas
full sun to partial shade
Soil humidity:
moist to wet soil
Flower colour:
Flowering period:
USDA Hardiness:
zone 4a: -34.5 °C (-30 °F) View Zone Map
Mature height & width (max.):
height: 80 ft (24 m) width: 50 ft (15 m)
specimen, mass planting, riparian soil stabilization, naturalization, low woods, river bottoms along streams, ponds and slope, beneficial to wildlife

Bitternut Hickory is a large, long-lived deciduous tree, native to Eastern Canada. The leaves are compound with 5-9 leaflets, light green, and turn yellow in the fall. This monoecious tree produces long green catkins in mid-spring. Its hard-shelled nuts are bitter, and inedible to humans. This tree is most valuable for naturalization, and riparian soil stabilization. It is native, provides food and habitat to wildlife, and tolerates wet conditions.

Once established, Bitternut Hickory aslo known as the Swamp Hickory, makes an excellent shade tree to cool down under during hot summer days. However, they can be messy in residential, and urban setting because of the abundance of hard nuts that they drop. This tree grows quite large (50 to 80 feet tall with a trunk of 12 to 30" diameter) and needs plenty of space. Carya cordiformis grows best in moist to wet soil so plant in an area that receives plenty of natural water.

Recognized from other hickories by it striking yellow buds, hence antoher common name, "Yellow-bud Hickory". It is considered the best hickory for smoking meats. The tree doesn't usually produce nuts until it is 25-30 yrs old. Heavy crops shoud be expected only every 3-5 years.

Please use availability information as a guide only. The weather is a fickle thing, and impacts when our plants are actually available for shipping. Please be aware that we are not answering emails regarding plants availability. The best advice we can give you is to check back once in a while, choose a size option and check the current stock.


Ships ON, QC, NB, PE, NS

Synonym(s): Juglans cordiformis

Also known as: Yellow-bud Hickory, North American Bitternut

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