The leaves of Bitternut are 30 cm long, odd pinnate, up to 17 cm (6.7 in) long with 7 -11 lanceolate leaflets. The leaf margin is serrated.
The flowers are small green-yellow catkins.
The nuts are in a nutshell. The nut is large up to 3 cm (1.2 in). The nut has a bitter taste.
The branches are first brown and hairy, later smooth and gray. The buds are yellowish with glandular scales.