This is a medium-sized tree with a tall, straight trunk. It is native to the southeastern United States and is a common but not abundant species in oak-hickory forests.
Bark is light gray with interlacing ridges and shallow fissures, forming a diamond-shaped pattern. It has almost hairless leaflets, tight bark, and smooth, often pear-shaped fruits.
The fruit is a husk-covered nut maturing in autumn. Hickories provide food for many types of wildlife, and the nuts are eaten by many species of squirrel, as well as wild turkey, songbirds, black bears, rabbits, raccoons, and foxes. In addition to its ecological importance, hickory wood is used as fuel for home heating.
It is an important shade tree in wooded suburban areas and is seldom planted as an ornamental tree.