Being a good Texas girl, roadkill never frightens me. I've dutifully taught my kids the Roadkill Car Game (I one it, I two it, I three it, I four it, . . . I "eight" it.)
At a party recently, my friend - the host - asked, "what tree is this?" In the wee hours of the morning and after more than one glass of wine, that's not an easy question. I thought I knew, but in the dark, I couldn't see the bark or the form of the tree either. I surely didn't want to be wrong so I put off answering until the next day. So I plucked a leaf to take home for researching in the morning.
My favorite horticulture professor warned her students of client roadkill questions and trained us by giving her infamous "roadkill quizzes." She would line up 10 small branches, sometimes with leaves, sometimes not, for us to identify. Her hardest was the cone roadkill quiz - yes, 10 cones from different conifers that we then had to identify the tree or shrub that produced the cone.
But she was right. I get these questions frequently, from friends, neighbors and clients.
The answer here: Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory.