shagbark hickory Juglandaceae Carya
ovata (Mill.) K. Koch
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, 8 to 14 inches long with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets, lateral leaflets are obovate to lanceolate, terminal leaflets are much larger than the laterals, margins serrate and ciliate, rachis stout and mostly glabrous; green above and paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male flowers are yellow-green catkins, hanging in 3's, 2 to 3 inches long; females are very short, in clusters at the end of branches, both appear spring.
Fruit: Nearly round, 1 1/2 to 2 inches, with a very thick husk; nut is distinctly 4-ribbed, and the seed is sweet and delicious; maturing in fall.
Twig: Stout and usually tomentose, but may be somewhat pubescent near terminal bud, numerous lighter lenticels; leaf scars are raised, 3-lobed to semicircular - best described as a "monkey face"; terminal bud is large, brown, and pubescent, covered with 3 to 4 brown scales, more elongated than other hickories.
Bark: At first smooth and gray, later broken into long, wide plates attached at the middle, curving away from the trunk resulting in a coarsely shaggy appearance.
Form: A tall tree reaching over 120 feet tall with a straight trunk and an open round to oblong crown.
Looks like: shellbark hickory - red hickory - mockernut hickory - pignut hickory
Additional Range Information: Carya ovata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting shagbark hickory.
More Information: Fall Color - Wood - Landowner Factsheet
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson