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Shagbark Hickory, A Common Tree in North America

Carya ovata, Top 100 Common Tree in North America


Shagbark hickory has a "distinctive" hickory look because of its loose-plated bark. C. ovata is one of the most widespread hickories in North America. This tree is very hard to transplant because of the extended taproot.

1. The Silviculture of Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark Hickory Illustration
Shagbark hickory is probably the primary species, after pecan (Carya illinoensis), with potential for commercial nut production. The nuts have sweet kernels and fair cracking quality (which is often better in cultivars). The bark texture and open irregular branching of shagbark hickory make it a good specimen tree for naturalistic landscapes on large sites.

2. The Images of Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark Hickory
Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of shagbark hickory. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Juglandales > Juglandaceae > Carya ovata (P. Mill.) K. Koch. Shagbark hickory is also commonly called carya ovata australis, scalybark hickory and shellbark hickory.

3. The Range of Shagbark Hickory

Range of Shagbark Hickory
Shagbark hickory is found throughout most of the Eastern United States from southeastern Nebraska and southeastern Minnesota through southern Ontario and southern Quebec to southern Maine, southward to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas, and disjunctly in the mountains of northeastern Mexico. It is largely absent from the southeastern and Gulf coastal plains and lower Mississippi Delta areas.

4. Shagbark Hickory at Virginia Tech Dendrology

Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, 8 to 14 inches long with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets, lateral leaflets are obovate to lanceolate, terminal leaflets are much larger than the laterals, margins serrate and ciliate, rachis stout and mostly glabrous; green above and paler below.

Twig: Stout and usually tomentose, but may be somewhat pubescent near terminal bud, numerous lighter lenticels; leaf scars are raised, 3-lobed to semicircular - best described as a "monkey face"; terminal bud is large, brown, and pubescent, covered with 3 to 4 brown scales, more elongated than other hickories.

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