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Carya cordiformis

bitternut

A spreading, deciduous tree eventually reaching up to 25m tall. Large, dark green leaves up to 30cm long open from yellow winter buds and are divided into oval or oblong leaflets- usually seven but sometimes five or nine. Yellow-green spring flowers are followed by rounded or pear-shaped nuts 2-4cm long with an edible but bitter nut

Other common names
bitternut hickory
North American bitternut
see moreswamp hickory
white hickory
Synonyms
Carya minima
Carya amara
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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Yellow Green Green
Summer Green Green
Autumn Yellow
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Juglandaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Genus

Carya are vigorous deciduous trees of handsome appearance, the large pinnate leaves colouring well in the autumn; male flowers are in catkins, females are insignificant spikes, followed by nuts, the kernels of some being edible

Name status

Correct

Plant range
NE US

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed; seedlings rapidly develop a deep tap root and resent disturbance so plant out in permanent position in the first year

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Low Maintenance
Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

May be susceptible to crown gall, powdery mildews and leaf spot- see leaf damage on woody plants

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