A tree to 100 ft high; bark grey, fissured, with interlacing ridges which are often scaly or ragged; young shoots glabrous. Leaves 8 to 12 in. long, composed of five or seven leaflets, the basal ones of which are ovate-lanceolate, the terminal ones much larger and more or less obovate; all taper-pointed, rounded or tapering at the base, sharply toothed; both surfaces glabrous except for some down along the midrib and veins, which mostly falls away by autumn. The large terminal leaflets are 5 to 7 in. long, and 2 to 3 in. wide, the lowest pair about one-third the size; common stalk glabrous. Male catkins 3 to 5 in. long, slightly scurfy. Fruit variable in shape and size, mostly rounded or pear-shaped, flattened or even sunk at the apex. Kernel of nut astringent.
Native of eastern N. America, as far to the north as Maine; introduced in 1799. This hickory thrives very well in England. Earlier this century there was a specimen 80 ft high at Kew, which often bore good crops of fruit. This is gone; the present example, by the Lion Gate, measures 52 × 41⁄4 (1963). There is a tree of about the same size in the Glasnevin Botanic Garden, Dublin.