Carya ovata - Shagbark Hickory


This is the hickory with bark that peels in long, tough curls off the straight trunk. It is a large tree growing 60-80 ft., and sometimes reaching 120 ft. in height. The tree maintains its central stem high into the narrow, oblong crown. The bright, yellow-green, pinnately-compound leaves become golden in early fall, eventually drying to a warm bronze. The thick-shelled hickory nuts are edible.Wild trees and improved cultivated varieties produce commercial hickory nuts. Carolina Hickory (var. australis (Ashe) Little), a variety found in southeastern mountains, has small lance-shaped leaflets and small nuts. The name hickory is from pawcohiccora, an Algonquian word for the oily food removed from pounded kernels steeped in boiling water. This sweet hickory milk was used in cooking corn cakes and hominy. Pioneers made a yellow dye from the inner bark. The nickname Old Hickory was given by his backwoods militia to General Andrew Jackson (afterwards our seventh President) because he was tough as hickory.