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Kentucky Color: Pignut Hickory

One never knows what unusual formation one will find in nature
The next earlier Kentucky Color: Billy Joe Fudge,
Kentucky Color: Honeylocust Thorns and Blue Sky January 31, 2010. Click on headline for full story plus photo(s)

By Billy Joe Fudge, President, Homeplace on Green River, Inc.
6048 New Columbia RD, Campbellsville, KY

When you look at the photo accompanying this Kentucky Color, you wonder: Pignut Hickory or long-towed elephant foot? It is an unusual root formation. You never know what you're gonna see out in a hardwood forest during the winter. When the trees are foliated the greenery overpowers our ability to distinguish detail. We've often heard that you can't see the forest for the trees but I believe more often than not, we can't see the trees for the forest.

Pignut is one of three upland "Tight Bark Hickories". The other two are Mockernut and Bitternut. By tight bark I mean that the bark does not flake off in strips and sheets as is the nature of the "Loose Bark Hickories" Shagbark and Shellbark. The color of Tight Bark Hickories is between a light black and a dark gray. The color of the Loose Bark Hickories is mostly a light gray.

Pignut is often referred to as Sweet Pignut since the kernels are good to eat and as opposed to the Bitternut Hickory that is not good to eat. If you can't tell the difference crack open a nut, dig out the kernel, put it in your mouth and chew. If your jaws uncontrollably suck in between your molars, you can safely assume that you don't have a Pignut kernel in your mouth.

The heartwood in a Pignut and Bitternut is reddish brown and they are often referred to as Red Hickories. The heartwood of Mockernut is white and it is often referred to as White Hickory. Although no wood burning specialist would turn down any hickory, most know that Red Hickory will keep fire better on long winter nights.

This story was posted on 2010-02-07 08:37:14
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Kentucky Color: Pignut Hickory tree

2010-02-07 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Pignut Hickory or long-towed elephant foot? This is an unusual root formation. You never know what you're gonna see out in a hardwood forest during the winter.
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