Florida Forestry Information
Juglandaceae
The Walnut Family
 
 The walnut family includes about 40 species of trees that are widely scattered throughout the forests of the Northern Hemisphere.  This family is well represented in the south by walnuts, hickories, and pecan. 

 Click on the links below for introductions to some of the trees of this family:
 
black walnut
mockernut hickory
pignut hickory
water hickory
pecan hickory
bitternut hickory
 
Juglandaceae Family
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home

Juglans nigra 
black walnut 
 
black walnut, photo by Chris DemersHabit 

The black walnut is a large tree, 70-100 feet in height, 2-4 feet in diameter.  In dense stands, it commonly produces a long, clear bole that supports a small, narrow, open crown.  Grown in the open, it develops a short trunk and a massive, spreading crown.  The root system of this tree is deep and widespread. 

Leaves 

Leaves are odd-pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are 1-2 feet long, with 15-23 nearly sessile leaflets.  The leaflets are oval and tapered, 3-4 inches long, about 1 inch wide, with acute apices.  Leaf bases are usually rounded.  Leaflet margins are finely toothed.  Leaflet surfaces are glabrous above, pubescent below.  The rachis are hairy. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual appearing in inflorescences. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is an ovoid nut, 1.5-2.25 inches in diameter.  This nut is enclosed in a thick, succulent, yellowish-green husk.  The seed is oily, sweet, and edible. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are stout, brown to orange-brown.  The pith is yellowish-gray and chambered. 
 
Bark 

The bark is gray-brown to nearly black, sometimes with a purplish or reddish-brown tinge.  The bark becomes fissured.  On large trees, it is deeply furrowed between sharp or broadly rounded ridges. 
 
Habitat 

The black walnut grows on deep, moist, fertile soils of bottomlands and gentle slopes, where it occurs as an occasional tree in association with other hardwoods.  It is found from Massachusetts through southern Ontario, to central Nebraska; south to Texas, Georgia, and northern Florida. 
 
Use 

The black walnut has long been recognized as one of the most valuable North American trees.  Unfortunately, ruthless cutting has caused its almost complete extinction in certain areas.  American colonists used the wood for fence rails and fuel.  The master craftsmen of Queen Anne discovered the wood's excellent potential in cabinetry during Colonial times.  During the civil war, the wood was used in the manufacture of gunstocks. Later in the First and Second World Wars, it was used for both gunstocks and airplane propellers.  Today, it is the most popular wood used for fabricating solid and veneer furniture. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 

 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home
 
Carya glabra 
pignut hickory 
 
Habit 

The pignut hickory is a medium-sized tree, reaching 60-80 feet in height, 1-2 feet in diameter.  It has a long, clear bole that spreads into a narrow, oblong crown. 
 
pignut hickory leaves and fruit, photo by Chris DemersLeaves 

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are 8-12 inches long, with 5-7 sessile leaflets.  The leaflets are oval and tapered, 4-6 inches long, about 2-3 inches wide, with long-tapered acute apices.  The terminal leaflet is the largest.  Leaf bases are usually rounded.  Leaflet margins are finely serrate.  Leaflet surfaces are yellow-green and glabrous above, paler and glabrous below, occasionally pubescent along the midrib.  The rachis are slender, smooth and glabrous. 

Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a pear-shaped nut, about 1.25 inch long.  The nut is thick-walled, unridged, compressed, and is incased in a thin husk.  The seed is small and is usually sweet.  Click on the link below to see a photograph of the leaves and fruit of this tree: 

Twigs 

The twigs are stout, reddish-brown, and glabrous.  The pith is homogeneous. 
 
Bark 

The bark is deeply furrowed between narrow, interlacing ridges, which are often scaly at the surface. 
 
Habitat 

The pignut hickory grows on upland slopes and ridges in association with other oaks and hickories.  In the south is sometimes found in association with bottomland hardwoods.  It is found from southwestern Vermont through New York to southern Michigan; south through central Illinois to Louisiana; in the east its range extends south along the coast to Virginia, then along the Piedmont and to the deep south, where it is found in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. 
 
Use 

The wood from this tree is used for handle stock, basketry, and agricultural implements.  The wood makes excellent fuel, and the nuts are edible. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home
 
Carya illinoensis 
pecan hickory 
 
Habit 

The pecan hickory is a large tree, reaching 100-140 feet in height, 3-4 feet in diameter.  It has a long, clear bole that spreads into a narrow, pyramidal crown. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are 10-29 inches long, with 9-17 sessile or nearly sessile leaflets.  The leaflets are oval to elliptical and tapered, 4-8 inches long, about 1-2 inches wide, with long-tapered acute apices.  Leaflet bases are unequally rounded or wedge-shaped.  Leaflet margins are serrate or doubly serrate.  Leaflet surfaces are dark yellow-green and glabrous above, paler and at first pubescent below.  The rachis are slender, smooth and glabrous or somewhat pubescent. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is an elliptical nut, enclosed in a thin-skinned husk, 4-winged from base to tip, and in clusters of 3-12.  The nut is reddish-brown, thin-shelled, 1.5-2.5 inches long, and smooth or slightly ridged.  The seed is deeply 2-grooved and sweet. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are stout, reddish-brown, and glabrous.  The pith is homogeneous. 
 
Bark 

The bark is moderately thick, light brown or grayish-brown, and is divided by narrow fissures into flattened, scaly, interlacing ridges. 

Habitat 

The pecan hickory grows on rich, moist soils of well-drained river bottoms.  It usually occurs as an occasional tree in association with sweet gum, American elm, persimmon, honeylocust, hackberry, poplars, and water oak.  It is found from southwestern Indiana to southeastern Iowa; south through western Tennessee to northern Florida, and south and west through southern Kansas to east central Texas.  It also grows in the mountains of Mexico. 
 
Use 

The pecan hickory is widely planted throughout the south as both an ornamental and for fruit production.  Several "papershell" varieties have superior flavor and are widely cultivated in the southern states as far north as Virginia.  The wood is used for flooring, furniture, and fuel. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home
 
Carya tomentosa 
mockernut hickory 
 
Habit 

The mockernut hickory is a moderately large tree, 50-70 feet in height, 1-2 feet in diameter.  Unlike most hickories, it has a broad, rounded crown. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  Leaves are 8-12 inches long and have 7-9 sessile or nearly sessile, fragrant leaflets.  The leaflets are oval-shaped, 5-8 inches long, about 3-5 inches wide, with long-tapered acute apices.  The terminal and upper pair of leaflets are the largest.  Leaflet bases are rounded or broadly wedge-shaped.  Leaflet margins finely to coarsely serrate.  Leaflet surfaces are dark yellow-green above, and covered with orange-brown pubescence below.  The rachis are stout, grooved, covered with pubescence, and are fragrant when bruised. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual and monoecious. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a 4-ribbed, thick-walled, ovoid to ellipsoidal nut, 1-1.5 inch long, and is enclosed in a deeply 4-channeled, reddish-brown husk, 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  The seed sweet. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are stout, reddish-brown to grayish-brown, the current season's growth is pubescent.  The pith is homogeneous. 
 
Bark 

The bark is firm with blue-gray, rounded, interlacing ridges separated by shallow furrows. 
 
Habitat 

The mockernut hickory is abundant in mixed hardwood forests on dry upland slopes.  It is commonly found in association with other hickories, many oaks, sweetgum, yellow-poplar, and black locust.  It is found in the eastern United States from southern Maine west through southern Michigan and northern Illinois to eastern Nebraska; south to northern Florida in the east and to eastern Texas in the west. 
 
Use 

The wood from the mockernut hickory is used for handle stock, basketry, and agricultural implements.  The wood makes excellent fuel, and the nuts are edible. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home
 
Carya aquatica 
water hickory, bitter pecan 
 
Habit 

The water hickory is a large tree, 80-100 feet in height, 2-3 feet in diameter.  It is distinguished by its 9-15 inch leaves with 7-17 narrow elliptical leaflets. 

Leaves 

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  Leaves are 9-15 inches long and have 7-17 sessile or nearly sessile leaflets.  The leaflets are relatively long, narrow and elliptical (more so than other hickories introduced here), 3-10 inches long, about 1-2 inches wide, with long-tapered acute apices.  Leaflet bases are wedge-shaped or rounded.  Leaflet margins finely serrate.  Leaflet surfaces are dark green and glabrous above, paler below with some pubescence along the midrib and lateral veins.  The rachis are stout and glabrous. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual and monoecious. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a 4-ribbed, thick-walled, ovoid to ellipsoidal nut, 1-1.5 inch long, and is enclosed in a thin husk.  The seed is wrinkled and bitter. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are slender and dark brown.  The pith is homogeneous. 
 
Bark 

The bark grayish or light brown, eventually splitting freely into plate-like, shaggy scales. 
 
Habitat 

The water hickory grows river banks and in floodplain forests where flooding is brief.  It is found on the coastal plain from southeast Virginia to south central Florida; west to Texas, north to southeastern Arkansas, western Mississippi, southwestern Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Tennessee. 
 
Use 

The wood from the water hickory is often difficult to work and it is dimensionally unstable.  It is occasionally used locally for fuel and posts. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home
 
Carya cordiformis 
bitternut hickory 
 
Habit 

Bitternut hickory is a medium-sized, fast growing tree, 50-60 feet in height, 2-3 feet in diameter.  It has stout, spreading limbs which form a full, rounded crown.  The trunk is often butressed at the base and the root system is deep and widespread. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous.  Leaves are 6-10 inches long and have 7-11 sessile or nearly sessile leaflets.  The leaflets are 3-6 inches long, narrow and elliptical, about 1 inch wide, with long-tapered acute apices.  Leaflet bases are wedge-shaped or rounded.  Leaflet margins finely serrate.  Leaflet surfaces are bright green and glabrous above, paler below and smooth or with some pubescence along the midrib and lateral veins.  The rachis are slender and hairy. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers of this tree are unisexual and monoecious. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is a 4-ribbed, thick-walled, ovoid to ellipsoidal nut, 1 inch long, and is enclosed in a thin yellowish husk.  The seed is deeply grooved. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are moderately stout and greenish-brown.  The pith is homogeneous. 
 
Bark 

The bark is smooth and light brown to slate gray, eventually splitting into shallow furrows between interlacing ridges, occasionally scaly. 
 
Habitat 

The water hickory grows along streams and in wet bottomlands, where it occurs in small numbers in association with other bottomland hardwoods.  It is occasionally found on slopes.  It is found from southeastern Maine to central Minnesota, south to Florida in the east and through Kansas and Nebraska to eastern Texas in the west. 
 
Use 

The wood from the water hickory is often difficult to work and it is dimensionally unstable.  It is occasionally used locally for fuel wood. 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 
Juglandaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu
Glossary
References
Home