Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata

Native to the eastern United States the shagbark hickory is a large tree, reaching up to 120’ in height at maturity. As with all hickories, the leaves on the shagbark are pinnately compound but the shagbark only has 5 leaflets compared to the 7-11 leaflets present on other hickories. In the fall the leaves turn a yellow to gold color. The bark has a similar shaggy bark as the shellbark, but the bark pieces are thinner than those of the shellbark. Like all hickories, the fruit is dehiscent (meaning it splits open). The fruit on the shagbark matures to the size of a golf ball and while it is edible the wildlife will often beat humans to it. This tree is important to many species of wildlife not only for food, but also cover. Several species of bats including the Indiana bat use the tight crevices under the shaggy bark to roost. As with all hickories the wood is very hard and shock resistant making it ideal for tool handles and baseball bats.


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