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shagbark hickory Carya ovata play

Shagbark hickory is the most recognizable of all the hickories due to the thick peeling strips of bark on mature trunks. Like pignut hickory, it is found widely throughout the eastern U.S. and is of considerable timber and wildlife value.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Shagbark's slow growing nature and intermediate shade tolerance allow for adequate competition with its associates only if some shade and shelter is provided. Advanced regeneration is very important and compliments shelterwood and partial clearcut methods well.

In the northern part of its range, shagbark hickory occupies drier upland slopes. In the southern part of its range, it occupies deep, moist soils of valleys and coves.


A tall tree reaching over 120 feet tall with a straight trunk and an open round to oblong crown.

Timber Value
Shagbark hickory is used for furniture, flooring, tool handles, ladder rungs, sporting goods, fuelwood, charcoal, meat-smoking, etc.

Wildlife Value
Shagbark hickory nuts are relished by many species of birds and mammals.
Attracts mice, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, rabbits, turkey, ducks, other birds, black bear, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
A very useful hickory; the wood is dense, an excellent firewood, and is used for a variety of wood products. Rotation lengths of over 200 years require great patience and faith in future descendants. The sweet nuts were once a staple of native Americans.

Latin Meaning
Carya: Greek "karya or kaura" (walnut -Juglans regia) / ovata: ovate or egg-shaped (leaflets)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.