Of the several hickories in Missouri, bitternut hickory is the only one with long, bright yellow buds. Its common name refers to the bitter taste of the nut—but the flavor doesn't put off squirrels, mice and deer!
This tree is also called the Ozark pignut hickory. Its nut, like that of the pignut hickory (Carya glabra), has a tough husk that is doggone hard to crack. Because rural Ozarkers noticed their rooting hogs had no trouble extracting the sweet kernels, both species came to be called "pignut hickories."
Many Missouri trees are quite useful, and shagbark hickory is a great example. Its wood makes excellent, slow-burning charcoal, its nuts are edible and its wood is used for many implements. Wildlife from moths to squirrels to bats appreciate shagbarks, too!
Missouri is rich with hickory trees. This hickory stands out from the rest for its hard wood, thick-shelled fruit enclosing relatively small kernels, large and light-colored terminal buds and tight, never shaggy, bark.
One of Missouri’s favorite nut trees is the pecan, which is a type of hickory—and hickories are in the walnut family! Originally pecan had a fairly limited, southern distribution, but today it is found in and out of cultivation nearly statewide, owing to the popularity of the nuts.
Eastern Gray (Sciurus carolinensis) Fox (Sciurus niger)
Among the members of the squirrel family living in Missouri, the eastern gray and fox squirrels are the most common. Their common names are descriptive of the general coat color-the grayish of one, and the "reddish fox" coloration of the other.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.