Carya laciniosa: shellbark hickory [big shagbark, kingnut]

Family: Juglandaceae [walnut], part of the fagoid group.

Form: large, long-lived tree with compound leaves, big nuts; crowns rather narrow, columnar in sun; small shaded trees much less dense.

Range: east-central USA (+ Ontario), especially central Mississippi and Ohio River drainages; across most of Kentucky except the east.

Habitat: woods on moist to damp base-rich lowlands, also woodland -pastures and fencerows on Bluegrass uplands; somewhat shade-tolerant.

Consumers: nuts much sought by squirrels and weevils; plants generally unpalatable to mammals, and tolerant of even dense cattle browsing; host to several insects, pests and diseases but severe damage uncommon; wood strong but rots rapidly when exposed.

Growing notes: nuts germinate in spring, becoming very bitter as seedlings emerge; growth often slow to moderate, unless resprouting.

Shellbark Hickory leaves and seeds
Shellbark Hickory leaves and seeds. Image:


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