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Vick, Albert F. W.
Carya ovata (Mill.) K. Koch
Synonym(s): Carya ovata var. fraxinifolia, Carya ovata var. nuttallii, Carya ovata var. pubescens, Hicoria alba, Hicoria borealis, Hicoria ovata
USDA Symbol: caov2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
This is the hickory with bark that peels in long, tough curls off the straigt trunk. It is a large tree growing 60-80 ft., and sometimes reaching 120 ft. in height. The tree maintains its central stem high into the narrow, oblong crown. The bright, yellow-green, pinnately-compound leaves become golden in early fall, eventually drying to a warm bronze. The thick-shelled hickory nuts are edible.
Wild trees and improved cultivated varieties produce commercial hickory nuts. Carolina Hickory (var. australis (Ashe) Little), a variety found in southeastern mountains, has small lance-shaped leaflets and small nuts. The name hickory is from pawcohiccora, an Algonquian word for the oily food removed from pounded kernels steeped in boiling water. This sweet hickory milk was used in cooking corn cakes and hominy. Pioneers made a yellow dye from the inner bark. The nickname Old Hickory was given by his backwoods militia to General Andrew Jackson (afterwards our seventh President) because he was tough as hickory.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
, WV Canada: ON
, QC Native Distribution:
to c. MI
& s.e. MN,
s. to c. GA,
& s.e. NE Native Habitat:
Shaded woods, Stream, river banks, Swamps, Flood plains, bottomland
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Well-drained, fertile soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay. Conditions Comments:
Tough to transplant, because of a large taproot,
and slow to grow. Sensitive to disturbance once established. Undisturbed trees are fairly disease resistant. Shadbark creates considerable litter from bark
plate, leafstalk and nut
husks. The similar but larger shellbark hickory, Carya laciniosa, is a bottomland species with a more central distribution. It is faster growing.
Long-living, Shade tree,
Attractive Use Wildlife:
Squirrels and birds relish the seeds and catkins. Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Nesting site, Cover, Substrate-insectivorous birds Use Food:
Fruits-nutrition Use Other:
Shagbark hickory is a very strong and hard wood that was used to make spokes for wooden wheels used on carriages and carts. (Hosie)
The inner bark
produces a yellow dye, which was patented in the 18th century. (Kershaw)
The fuel value of Shagbark is higher than that of any other North American wood except Locust. A cord of Hickory is almost the equivalent in thermal units of a ton of anthracite, and even today costs less. (Peattie) Interesting Foliage:
Most easily grown from fresh seed sown immediately after collection or stratified and sown in spring. Sow in permanent location as even small seedlings have a taproot
too large to move. Increase by hardwood cuttings is usually successful. Seed Collection:
Collect nuts from September to November. Husks usually dry and split open by themselves when the nuts are mature. Persistent husks can be removed with a corn sheller. Seed Treatment:
Embyro dormancy can be overcome by moist stratification at 33-40 degrees for 30-150 days. Older seeds require less stratification. Commercially Avail:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
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Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
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Aging non-native weeping willow in Ohio
June 11, 2008
We had a weeping willow now for about 15 years and it was doing fine until this summer. It has new branches sort of but a lot of the older ones are dying. There are leaves of course and they are sti...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Pineywoods Native Plant Center
- Nacogdoches, TXMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-06
Research By: TWC Staff