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Shagbark Hickory

The Shagbark Hickory tree, Carya ovata, has a distinctive, shaggy bark, conspicuous on tall straight trees, which gives this species its name. It grows well in both wet and dry areas, but prefers well-drained soils. Shellbark hickory trees are also called shagbark hickory, bigleaf shagbark hickory, kingnut, big shellbark, bottom shellbark, thick shellbark, and western shellbark, which attest to some of its characteristics. It is a slow-growing long-lived tree. The nuts, largest of all hickory nuts, are sweet and edible. Wildlife and people harvest most of them; those remaining produce seedling trees readily.

The wood is hard, heavy, strong, and very flexible, making it a favored wood for tool handles. The wood also makes excellent firewood, and often is used in smoking meat. As with other edible nuts, squirrels compete with humans for this fruit. Its bold-textured, jagged branch structure and thick twigs give it a striking appearance in winter. This deciduous shade tree has a yellow fall color.




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Shagbark Hickory


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