Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata

Leaves are alternate, compound with five to nine leaflets.

leafThe shagbark is the most common of the hickories and is an important timber tree with a narrow, open crown. It is found over the eastern United States and is quite general from bottomlands and moist slopes to the drier slopes and ridge tops.

nutsThe pinnately compound leaves are 8 to 16 inches long with five to seven dark yellow-green, broad oval leaflets with finely toothed margins.

The fruit is a brownish nut wit a thick shell and a sweet kernel, enclosed in a thick, splitting husk.

The twigs are smooth, or clothed with short hairs. The gray and very shaggy bark separates into long, narrow, hard, tough, loose scales, lightly attached to the tree.

leaf, bark, twig, nuts This tree gets its name from the way the long, flat plates of bark break free on either end and curl away from the trunk, giving the typical shaggy appearance. Shagbark hickory has a compound leaf make up of five leaflets. The hard, bony-white nut, containing sweet, delicious nutmeat, is enclosed in a four-sectioned green husk.

shaggy barkNo other hardwood has the combination of strength, elasticity, and toughness of hickory. The wood is used extensively for tool handles,athletic equipment, and for smoking meat. It makes the best firewood since it has the highest heat value of any wood.


Identify Another Tree

This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.