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Scalybark Hickory

The Carya Ovata is commonly known as Scalybark Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, as well as Shellbark Hickory

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Growing Regions

Shagbark hickory occurs throughout most of the eastern North America but is largely absent from the southeastern and Gulf coastal plains and the lower Mississippi Delta. It is found from southeastern Nebraska and southeastern Minnesota eastward through southern Ontario and Quebec to Maine and extends southward to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas [23]. Disjunct populations have been reported in the mountains of northeastern Mexico [23,36]. The variety ovata encompasses most of the species' range and grows westward to southeastern Missouri and eastward to Louisiana. The variety australis occurs in southeastern North America [36].


General Information

The currently accepted scientific name of shagbark hickory is Carya ovata (P. Mill.) K. Koch [30]. It is a member of the walnut family, Juglandaceae [23]. Two varieties are commonly recognized [30]: Carya ovata var. ovata (Miller) K. Koch Carya ovata var. australis (Ashe) Little At least five other varieties, including C. o. var. fraxinifilia Sarg., C. o. var. nuttallii Sarg., and C. o. var. pubescens, were formerly recognized by many authorities [23,50,57]. However, although occasionally encountered in the literature, they are no longer recognized by most taxonomists. Shagbark hickory hybridizes naturally with butternut hickory (C. cordiformis), pecan (C. illinoensis), and shellbark hickory (C. laciniosa) [24,36]. Common hybrid products and their derivatives follow [57]: Dunbar hickory C. X dunbarii (C. laciniosa x C. ovata) Laney hickory C. X laneyi Sarg. (C. cordiformis x C. ovata) Horticultural hybrids between shagbark hickory and butternut hickory, pecan, shellbark hickory, and mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa) have also been reported [57].

In certain floodplain communities, shagbark hickory grows as a
codominant with black oak (Quercus velutinus), green ash (Fraxinus
pennsylvanica), and northern red oak (Quercus rubra).  Shagbark hickory
is included as a codominant or indicator in the following community type
(cts) and plant association (pas) classifications:

Area              Classification                Authority

IL                general veg., cts             Thomson and Anderson 1976
NE                general veg., cts             Aikman 1926      
NE, KS            general veg., cts             Weaver 1960
NE, KS            general veg., cts             Weaver and Albertson 1945
OH                general veg., cts             Hamilton and Limbird 1982
sw OH             general veg., pas             Braun 1936

Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Carya ovata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.

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