Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Shagbark Hickory
Carya ovata

Leaves are alternate, deciduous and pinnately compound with 5 obovate leaflets and hair on the petiole and rachis. The teeth on the leaf margin have tiny tufts of hair visible to the naked eye. Twigs are brown, stout and hairy with large terminal buds showing loose outer scales. Bark is smooth on young trees and dark gray breaking into long loose strips on large trees. The 4-ribbed white nut is enclosed by a thick husk which is pale on the inside and splits to the base. Form is up to 39 m (130 ft) in height and 1.2 m (4 ft) in diameter. Shagbark hickory is found on moist sites in the east and central U.S. and is intermediate in shade tolerance The hard wood is used for pulpwood, furniture and novelty items. The nuts are eaten by many small animals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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