Carya tomentosa - Mockernut Hickory


Mockernut hickory is a 50-60 ft. tree which can reach 100 ft. in height on good soil. Its dark bark is rough and thin with shallow furrows and narrow ridges forming a net-like pattern. It does not peel like Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata). Pinnately compound, deciduous leaves turn bright, golden-yellow if the tree has not suffered drought. Small, barely edible nuts are enclosed in a large, thick shell.Formerly listed in NPIN as Carya alba. The wood of this common hickory and related species is prized for furniture, flooring, tool handles, baseball bats, skis, and veneer. Hickory wood has a very high fuel value, both as firewood and as charcoal, and is the preferred wood for smoking hams. People must arrive early to gather hickory nuts before they are consumed by squirrels and other wildlife. The former Latin species name, tomentosa, meaning densely covered with soft hairs, describes the undersurfaces of leaflets, a characteristic that makes this tree easily identifiable.