Shagbark Hickory, the most valuable of all the hickories, is a rugged, rather irregular tree, 60 to 140 feet tall with a trunk 12 to 30 inches in diameter. When the tree is grown in the open, the trunk frequently divides into large, slightly spreading limbs. The crown is usually narrow and open. In the forest the trunk is some times clear for 40 to 60 feet. The bark of mature trees is dark and grayish, separated into long thick strips or plates, loose at one and sometimes both ends. These strips curve away from the trunk, giving it the shaggy appearance from which the tree obtains its name. On young trees the bark is smooth and grayish. The limbs and twigs are strong and tough. The nuts are edible and delicious and have been a favorite delicacy for generations.The shells are smooth and very hard, and the nut is encased in a smooth thick husk from which the nut is easily removed. A mature tree will produce from two to three bushels of shelled nuts. This tree is subject to attack by insects, the most destructive of which is the hickory bark beetle. Boring insects attack the wood.
- Shagbark Hickory (Vt., N.H., Mass., R.I., Conn., N.Y., N.J., Pa., Del., S.C., Ala., Miss., Tex., Ark., Mo., Ill., Wis., Mich., Minn., Kans., Nebr., Iowa)
- Hickory(Vt,Ohio, trade)
- Redheart Hickory(Miss.)
- Scaly Bark Hickory (W. Va., Ky., S.C., Ala.)
- Shagbark(R.I., Ohio)
- Shagbark Walnut (Vt.)
- Shellbark (R.I., N.Y., Pa., N.C.)
- Shellbark-tree (Del.)
- “Tuscatine” (northern N.J.)
- Upland Hickory
- White Walnut (N.J.)
- Walnut (Vt., N.Y.)
- White Hickory (Iowa, Ark.)
The natural growth range of Shagbark Hickory extends from southern Maine westward to southeastern Minnesota; southward to eastern Texas; eastward to western Georgia and thence northward to New Hampshire, except the coastal plains of the Carolinas.
The heartwood of Shagbark Hickory is a light-reddish-tan, while the sapwood is very wide and nearly white. The sapwood has long been considered more valuable than the heartwood. The wood is very hard and tough, strong, bends easily, works hard with tools and is hard to nail, but ﬁnishes very smoothly. Hickory is considered one of the most valuable of all American hardwoods because of its toughness, strength, elasticity and smoothness of grain.
Of all hardwoods Hickory is perhaps the best handle wood for axes, hammers, hatchets and picks. It is also used for furniture, agricultural implements, wheels and spokes, sled runners, athletic equipment, baskets and turnery. The wood is a favorite for smoking meat.
|498||Shagbark Hickory Range Map
Natural distribution map for Carya ovata
Attribution: Elbert L. Little, Jr., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and others [Public domain]
|499||Shagbark Hickory Foliage
Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), Duke Forest Korstian Division, Durham, North Carolina USA.
Attribution: Dcrjsr [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
|500||Shagbark Hickory Tree Bark
Shagbark Hickory growing in Playwicki Park, Langhorne PA.
Reference: Faccenda, Kevin. Carya Ovata. 8 May 2014. Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wasp7ty/14841610861/.
|501||Carya Ovata (Miller) K. Koch
"Carya ovata, 2015, Shagbark Hickory, KAIR-ee-uh oh-VAY-tuh, 80x60 ft Tree, Z4, Green, Bloom Month 4-5, In Bed L3 for 18.3 years.
The Greek name for Walnut; In Greek mythology, Carya (daughter of King of Laconia) was changed into a walnut tree. Female produce edible oval-rounded nuts. Each nut has a thick husk which splits open in four sections in the fall."
Reference: F. D. Richards. Carya Ovata, 2015 L3. 10 Aug. 2015. Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/50697352@N00/19838205364/.