Carya laciniosa (Michx. f.) Loud.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Carya laciniosa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2019-12-16.


Common Names

  • Shellbark Hickory


  • Juglans laciniosa Michx. f.
  • C. sulcata Nutt.


Dry indehiscent single-seeded fruit with woody outer wall.
Cone. Used here to indicate male pollen-producing structure in conifers which may or may not be cone-shaped.
(of a leaf) Unlobed or undivided.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Carya laciniosa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2019-12-16.

Large tree to 41 m in the wild. Bark light grey, fissured or exfoliating in large, thick, persisting plates. Branchlets orange to pale brown, stout, hirsute, scaly. Terminal bud, broadly ovoid, 1.2–2.3 cm long, outer scales with longer apices, pale brown. Leaves deciduous, imparipinnate, 30–56 cm long; leaflets (5-)7-9)-11, ovate to obovate or elliptic, 9–20 × 3–10 cm, upper surface hirsute along the midrib and shortly pubescent elsewhere; lower surface hirsute with simple, 2-6-armed hairs, scaly with numerous large peltate scales and small round peltate scales; margins coarsely serrate, apex narrowly acuminate; petiolules 0–0.1 cm long; petiole and rachis sparsely to densely hirsute and scaly; petiole 6–13 cm long. Male catkins to 20 cm long, minutely hirsute, glandular. Fruits pale brown to darker brown, 3–4 × 2–3 cm, globose to ellipsoid, slightly compressed or not, splitting to the base; nuts finely wrinkled. (Bean 1976. Lance 2004. Whittemore & Stone 1997, Whittemore 2013.)

Distribution  Canada Southern Ontario. United States Eastern States; from the Great Lakes south to northern Oklahoma and Tennessee, and from western New York west to Iowa; some outliers exist.

Habitat Rich bottomlands, along creeks, and in open cedar glades; 20-300 m.

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

Leaves, fruits and buds of Carya laciniosa are typically the largest of all the hickories, making identification relatively simple when all of the aforementioned characters are available. The tree also resembles C. ovata, though usually bigger in proportion (and with more leaflets), giving rise to the alternative common name of ‘big shagbark hickory’ (Sternberg 2004).

Like other ‘true’ hickories, it is slow to establish and the sole plant of WECA 32, collected in Edwin Warner Park, Tennessee in 2014, stands at 70 cm after 4 years in the ground. The parent tree was of stout dimensions, with a diameter at 1.5 m of 1.2 m and fruits evidently favoured by the local squirrel population, as most hickories tend to be, with less than a dozen fruits left available for collection by early October.

The species was first introduced to Britain in 1804 (Bean 1970). Though no originals are known, the tree in Tortworth churchyard, Gloucestershire, recorded by Bean (1970) as 10 m tall in 1905 and 20 m tall in 1964 remains in good health, if partially ivy-covered. A larger example grows in the lesser-managed valley just north of the neighbouring Tortworth Court Hotel, though the tallest example in the UK grows at Aldenham Woods and was measured at 28.5 m tall in 2018 (TROBI 2018).

**refs clipboard Carya: Lu et al.1999, Kozlowski et al. 2018 Bean 1976 Whittemore & Stone 1997

Society of Ontario Nut Growers 2013 Grimo Nut Nursery 2019 De Smallekamp 2019 Crawford 2016 Reid 2019

Smith 1990 Grauke 2003 Rudawska et al. 2018

The Tree Register 2019 2019

Dirr 2009 Huxley et al.1992 Jacobson 1996 Kurz 2003 Sternberg 2004 Lance 2004

Elwes & Henry 1906–1913 Elias 1980 Ohwi 1965 Sargent 1917 Armitage et al. 2014

Manning 1950

Stanford et al. 2000 Aradhya et al. 2007 Zhang et al. 2019 De Smallekamp 2019 Wang et al. 2015 Shu et al. 2016

Milne & Abbot 2002 Moerman 2019 (N Am Etnobotany)

Arboretum Mustila 2019 Gothenburg Botanical Garden 2019 Plantcol 2019 Meise Botanic Garden 2019

US National Arboretum 2019 University of California Botanical Garden 2019

University of Washington Botanic Gardens 2019 JC Raulston Arboretum 2019

Hoyt Arboretum 2019 Morton Arboretum 2019 University of British Columbia 2019 Arnold Arboretum 2019


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