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Identify Common Hickory - Major Hickory Species in North America

Hickory Trees in the Walnut Family - Juglandaceae


carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
David Q. Cavagnaro/Photolibrary/Getty Images Identify Common Hickory - Major Hickory Species in North America
Mockernut Hickory

Mockernut Hickory

Steve Nix

Trees in the genus Carya (from Ancient Greek for "nut") are commonly known as hickory. The hickory genus includes 17–19 species of deciduous trees with pinnately compound leaves and large nuts.

A dozen or so species are native to North America (11–12 in the United States, 1 in Mexico), and 5–6 species from China and Indochina. The hickory tree, along with the oaks, dominates the hardwood forests of eastern North America.

The Common North American Hickory Species

Dormant Identification:
Hickory twigs have tan, 5-sided or angled soft centers called piths. The tree's bark is variable along species lines and not helpful except for loose, flaky shagbark hickory. The tree's fruit is a nut and husks are often visible under a dormant tree. Most hickory species have stout twigs with large terminal buds.

Leaves: mostly alternate, pinnately compound, finely toothed.
Fruit: hard-shelled nut.

ash | beech | basswood | birch | black cherry | black walnut/butternut | cottonwood | elm | hackberry | hickory | holly | locust | magnolia | maple | oak | poplar | red alder | royal paulownia | sassafras | sweetgum | sycamore | tupelo | willow | yellow-poplar

ID Glossary

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