This slow-growing tree is easily identified by its compound leaves and gray bark, which breaks up into thin, long plates that peel away from the trunk. Brown bats sometimes hide under the bark during the day.
When burned, the wood produces more heat than any other and is unrivaled in its combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness. These qualities make it ideal for tool handles, athletic equipment, and lawn furniture. The wood also is superior for smoking hams and bacon.