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Pignut Hickory

Q: I have a pignut hickory tree and it produces loads of nuts.  Can we eat them? 

A:  According to the Florida Division of Forestry, the fruit of the Pignut hickory, Carya glabra, can be eaten. But, always be sure any plant is properly identified before ingesting any part of it – fruit or leaves. There use to be an old wives tale which stated, “if birds eat it, it is safe for us to eat.” Do not use other animal’s ability to tolerate plant material to determine if the plant is safe to eat. Most accounts say the fruit is sweet. It is in the walnut family and found in most forests east of the Mississippi and even out to the west coast. This group of trees includes walnuts and pecans; it tolerates most any type of soil, or light condition.