The shagbark hickory, or Carya ovata, is from the Juglandaceae, or walnut, family of plants. It is native to the United States. It has edible nuts for fruits, and is well respected as a valuable tree in landscaping. It brings birds and small wildlife into the landscape.
Shagbark Hickory Description
Growing 60 to 80 feet tall, this tree’s bark peels in long curls. It has yellow-green leaves that turn gold in the fall and then bronze afterwards. It has edible thickly-shelled hickory nuts for fruits. It is a perennial with a bloom season of March through June.
Grow in any lighting with an acidic soil. It prefers well-drained and fertile soils. Propagate by seed or by hardwood cuttings. Nuts should be collected in the fall and then moist stratified for one to five months. It is a good disease resistant tree and has little litter problems. It should not be disturbed once planted, as it is slow to grow and has a large taproot.
Carya ovata Trivia
In the 18th century there was a patent given for the shagbark hickory’s inner bark. It was patented for its ability to make a yellow dye. General Andrew Jackson was nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’ due to his toughness, like a hickory tree.
The wood of a shagbark hickory has a higher fuel value than every other wood barring the Locust. It is very strong wood and can be made into spokes for carriage and cart wheels as well.
Distribution of Carya ovata
The shagbark is distributed throughout the United States in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.