northern shagbark hickory

(Carya ovata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

northern shagbark hickory

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Moist to dry. Wet bottomlands, dry uplands, exposed ridge tops, south-facing slopes. Shade tolerant when young.

Photo by Randy
Flowering

Early May to early mid-June

 
Flower Color

Green

 
Height

40 to 60

 

Identification

This is a slow-growing, deciduous, hardwood tree. It rises on a single stem from a deep root system with a central taproot. In Minnesota mature trees are usually 40 to 60 tall and up to 24 in diameter at breast height. Large individuals can reach 130 in height and 48 in diameter. It is a long-lived tree, often surviving 200 years.

The trunk is straight, slender, and spreading at the base. It is distinct into the upper part of the crown and is often free of branches for ¾ of its length. The crown is narrow, rounded, and irregular. The branches are short, ascending, and spreading.

The bark on young trees is thin, smooth, and dark gray. As it ages it becomes ashy gray and separates into long strips that are loosely attached at the middle. These strips are free and curl away from the trunk at the top and bottom. The bark is shaggy in appearance, much like silver maple. It is the tree’s most distinctive feature and makes recognition easy.

The twigs are stout, grayish-brown to reddish-brown, with numerous lighter dots (lenticels). In their first year they are covered with whitish hairs. In the second year they become less hairy or hairless. They are round in cross section and have star-shaped pith. The leaf scars are slightly raised and 3-lobed to semicircular. They have many bundle scars that are either scattered or arranged in 3 clusters forming a monkey face pattern.

Terminal buds are tan to dark brown, to ¾ long, and egg-shaped, with 6 to 9 thin, overlapping scales. The outer scales are loosely spreading and often broken. The inner scales are densely covered with short, matted or tangled, soft, woolly hairs. Lateral buds are similar but much shorter, diverge from the twig, and have 2 protective bracts at the base.

The leaves are deciduous, alternate, 8 to 14 long, and pinnately divided into usually 5, rarely 7, leaflets. They are on 2 to 4¾ long, minutely hairy leaf stalks.

The 3 upper leaflets are elliptical or narrowly elliptical, 4 to 8 long, and 13 16 to 3½ wide. The 2 basal leaflets are similar in shape but much smaller. The terminal leaflet is the largest of the 5. It is sometimes inversely egg-shaped and is on a 3 16 to long leaf stalk. The lateral leaflets are stalkless or nearly stalkless. The blades are widest in the middle and taper toward both ends. They taper unevenly to a blunt base, and taper to a point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. The upper surface is dark yellow-green and hairless. The lower surface is pale yellow-green and hairless except occasionally for hairs along the midvein. The margins are finely or coarsely toothed with sharp, forward pointing teeth. There are 2 or 3 small tufts of white hairs below the summit of each tooth. These may not be visible without a hand lens. In autumn the leaves turn golden yellow.

Male and female flowers are borne on the same branch. They appear when the leaves are nearly full size in early May to early mid-June. The male inflorescence is 3 cylindrical, drooping clusters (catkins) of numerous tiny flowers. Each catkin is 2 to 4¾ long. The 3 catkins are attached to a single stalk rising from the base of current-year twigs, and from leaf axils of previous season leaves. The female inflorescence is 2 to 4 flowers on a 5 16 long spike at the end of current-year twigs.

The fruit is a nut enclosed in a thick, tan, woody husk. The husk is 1 to 19 16 long, slightly less wide, to thick, and spherical but somewhat compressed on the top. It is split into 4 sections by sutures that run from the stalk to the base. They are not winged but are ribbed at the sutures. The fruit ripens in September and October and is dispersed from September to December. The ripened husk splits open at the base to release the nut. The nut is oblong egg-shaped, compressed at the top, prominently 4-angled near the top, and rounded at the base. The shell is thin and the kernel is sweet and edible.

 
Similar
Species

Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) bark forms shallow ridges and furrows, not peeling strips. Current-year twigs have whitish hairs near the tip but are otherwise hairless. The buds are sulphur-yellow and have 2 to 4 valve-like bud scales. The leaves have 7 or 9, rarely 11, leaflets. The leaf margins do not have small tufts of hairs. The fruits are smaller, ¾ to 13 16 long, and have a thin, leathery husk.

Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) leaf margins do not have small tufts of hairs.

Southern shagbark hickory (Carya carolinae-septentrionalis) has shorter catkins and smaller fruits. It does not occur in Minnesota.

Wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) plants look similar to hickory seedlings. The outer (closest to the petiole) leaflets of sarsaparilla leaves are always larger than the inner (closest to the terminal segment) leaflets.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28.

Record

The champion northern shagbark hickory in Minnesota is on state property in or near Freeburg, in Houston County. In 2009 it was measured at 93 tall and 92 in circumference (29 in diameter).

 
Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Juglandaceae (walnut)

 

Subfamily:

Juglandoideae (walnut)

 

Tribe:

Juglandeae

 

Subtribe:

Caryinae

 

Genus:

Carya

 

Section:

Carya (typical hickories)

 
Synonyms

Carya ovata var. fraxinifolia

Carya ovata var. nuttallii

Carya ovata var. ovata

Carya ovata var. pubescens

Hicoria alba

Hicoria borealis

Hicoria ovata

 
Common
Names

northern shagbark hickory

scalybark hickory

shagbark

shagbark hickory

shellbark hickory

upland hickory


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

catkin

A slim, cylindrical, drooping cluster of many flowers. The flowers have no petals and are either male or female but not both.

 

lenticel

A corky, round or stripe-like, usually raised, pore-like opening in bark that allows for gas exchange.

 

pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Randy


Shagbark hickory, October 2017, Freeborn County, Minnesota.

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Shagbark hickory nuts, October 2017, Freeborn County, Minnesota.

  northern shagbark hickory   northern shagbark hickory
       

Stand of Northern Shagbark Hickory in winter

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Stand of Northern Shagbark Hickory

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Basswood on left next to Shagbark

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Double-trunked shagbark hickory

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Deep green late-summer foliage of northern shagbark hickory

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Northern Shagbark Hickory, Freeborn County, MN, August 2016

  northern shagbark hickory    
       

View into canopy of Northern Shagbark Hickory growing wild in Freeborn County, MN, at the very western edge of the natural range of the species

  northern shagbark hickory    
       
  northern shagbark hickory    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Bark

  northern shagbark hickory   northern shagbark hickory
       
  northern shagbark hickory    
       

Leaves

  northern shagbark hickory   northern shagbark hickory
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Carya ovata
Blake C. Willson
 
  Carya ovata  
 
About

Shagbark Hickory

 
     
  Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
Bill Keim
 
  Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  Trees with Don Leopold - shagbark hickory
ESFTV
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 10, 2011

No description available.

 
     
  Shagbark Hickory identification ( Carya Ovata). It is a tree that early squirrel hunters look for
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 26, 2012

Shagbark Hickory identification video ( Carya Ovata) It is a tree that early squirrel hunters look for because of the prized nuts that they love.

 
     
  How to ID Carya ovata
Laura Deeter
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 7, 2008

brief video covering the name and key ID features for Carya ovata

 
     
  Shagbark Hickory
SoMoCon's channel
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 24, 2013

Shagbark Hickory is an interesting tree with a distinctive look.

 
     
  Shagbark hickory tree
Pat Rick
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 21, 2011

http://www.tytyga.com/product/Shagbark+Hickory+Tree

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this plant.

Randy
October 2017

Location: Freeborn County, Minnesota

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
12/12/2016

Stand of Northern Shagbark Hickory in winter

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
11/16/2016

Stand of Northern Shagbark Hickory

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
11/7/2016

Double-trunked shagbark hickory

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
9/2016

Location: near IA/MN border

Deep green late-summer foliage of northern shagbark hickory

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
8/9/2016

Location: Freeborn County, MN

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
9/20/2015

Location: Freeborn County, MN

View into canopy of Northern Shagbark Hickory growing wild in Freeborn County, MN, at the very western edge of the natural range of the species

northern shagbark hickory


Randy
11/8/2015

 

northern shagbark hickory


     
     
 

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