Carya laciniosa (Michx. f.) G. Don - Shellbark Hickory


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Carya laciniosa - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Juglandaceae


Flood plains.




NY and southern Ontario to IA and eastern KS, south to NC, GA, MS, and eastern OK.


Deciduous tree; bark light gray, separating into plates; twigs and branchlets stout; buds large; leaflets (5)7 or 9, permanently pubescent beneath with fascicled hairs, the terminal oblanceolate to obovate, the lateral very inequilateral at the base; fruit ellipsoid to subglobose, 3.5-7 cm, the husk 6-12 mm thick, eventually splitting to the base; nut strongly compressed, 3-6 cm, prominently angled, somewhat wedge-shaped at the base, very thick walled.


Flowers early May to early June.

Wetland indicator: FACW

A few things make me question the identity of the tree in these photos. While the bark looks like that of C. laciniosa, the leaves have only five leaflets which would suggest that it is C. ovata. While C. laciniosa can occasionally have five leaflets it most often has seven or nine. The defining characteristics are not visible in any of the pictures that I took, and those are persistent pubescence on the underside of the leaflets and strongly compressed nuts more than 3 cm. Carya ovata only has tufts of hairs just below the margin teeth and nuts 2-3 cm.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




Michael Hough 2018