Characteristics of Hickory Tree (Carya ovata) in the Wild

Carya ovata
Hickory (Carya ovata) is a common tree species in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It includes a large deciduous tree that grows more than 30 meters and can live 300 years or more.

The highest known hickory tree grows in Savage Bay, Tennessee, recorded height of more than 46 meters.

In addition to the name hickory, people also call this tree with various names such as Carolina Hickory, Scalybark Hickory, Upland Hickory, and Shellbark Hickory.

Hickory trees are very easy to find in most of the eastern United States, but not on the plains or coastline of the southeast and lower regions.

The isolated population of hickory trees is known to be in eastern Canada where the area is included in the Hardiness Zone 4b.

 

Characteristics of Hickory Leaf

Carya ovata Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Layla Dishman

The leaves are 30-60 cm long, pinnate, and have five leaflets (rarely 3 or 7).

 

Characteristics of Hickory Flower

Carya ovata Flower
Source : flickr.com/Arnold Arboretum

The flowers are pistillate, appearing on old stems or on leaf axils.

 

Characteristics of Hickory Fruit

Carya ovata Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Blake C. Willson

Hickory fruit is 2-4 cm long, hard, edible, and has a very sweet taste.

 

Characteristics of a Hickory Tree

Carya ovata Tree
Source : flickr.com/F. D. Richards

The tree is large, in the wild it is often found as high as 30-35 meters. Adult tree bark is very rough, cracked, and blackish gray.

Hickory trees begin to produce fruit at around 10 years, but most bear fruit at the age of 40 years and will continue for at least 100 years.

The fruit appears erratic, it is estimated that every 3 to 5 years. The fruit quickly disappears from the tree because it is very liked by squirrels.

 

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