This post needs to start with a song............. gotta love Gram Parsons and the Byrds.
I first came across the Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata, when we were on our lot in South Carolina in April. I first thought there was something wrong with the tree as the bark was peeling or 'shaggy'. Oh silly me. This is why I need to read and study about different trees! (Remember all pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.)
The Shagbark Hickory is monoecious. I think I have finally made this stick in my head....I see mono and know it means one or single so in my head I think the plant is of one sex....no no no!!!! Monoecious means-- mono (single) and oikos (house) (thanks Wikipedia and of course my MG handbook) Single house!!! Meaning the plant can reproduce because it only needs itself to pollinate. A nice web site with pictures of both the male and female blooms of the tree is from Iowa.
This tree is vary adaptable to light and soil conditions as well as a wide range of climates (zone). It seems from my reading that the one condition that is a factor in where you find hickories is rainfall/moisture. A great native tree with a food source for squirrels and chipmunks --it seems that deer are not attracted to this tree if there is other food available. In addition to the food source it is a nice shade tree, so I am hoping once our lot is cleared for house, well, and septic that some of the hickory trees are still there.
The leaves are large, toothed, pinnated with 5 to 7 leaflets. The leaflets are quite large. The Virginia Tech fact sheet has a good profile of leaves, bark, fruit, twigs, etc.
As I said the bark is the first thing I noticed with this tree...it stands out...literally.
The last reference I found that I wanted to share is from the National Forest Service. I try to only use references that are research based. In addition to facts about the Shagbark Hickory this paper has a chart to gage the age of this variety of tree. A great read.
Next time you are out in the woods, look at the bark and the large pinnated leaves, you may have a Shagbark Hickory!
Here is a nice picture of the fall color--
Next week's tree- Black Gum or Tupelo.