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Carya laciniosa (Shellbark hickory)
Makin, Julie

Carya laciniosa

Carya laciniosa (Michx. f.) G. Don

Shellbark Hickory

Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)

Synonym(s): Hicoria laciniosa

USDA Symbol: CALA21

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Large tree with straight trunk, narrow rounded crown, large leaves, and the largest hickory nuts.

This uncommon species is distinguished from other hickories by the large leaves, large nuts, and orange twigs; and from Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) by the larger number of leaflets and the thick-shelled nuts. The Latin species name, meaning "with flaps or folds," refers to the shaggy bark.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 130 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Green, Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , AR , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , OK , PA , TN , TX , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: SE. Iowa east to Ohio and SW. Pennsylvania, south to Tennessee, and west to NE. Oklahoma; also local to extreme S. Ontario, New York, N. Georgia, and Mississippi; to 1000' (305 m).
Native Habitat: Moist or wet soils of flood plains and valleys, with other hardwoods.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Loam

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.


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Carya laciniosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Carya laciniosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Carya laciniosa


Record Modified: 2023-04-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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