Native Plant Database

Callicarpa americana. Photo: Mervin Wallace

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata
Plant Type: Trees
Native Environment: Forest
Season of Interest: Winter (Nov - Mar)
Main Color: Green
Fall Color:
Hardy From Zone:
Hardy To Zone:
Sun Exposure 
Full Sun, Shade
Soil
Moisture
Dry, Moderate
Nature Attracting
Wildlife Benefit
Cover, Nesting, Butterfly / Moth Host
Animal
Resistance
Size

Height:

60 to
80
feet

Spread:

40 to
60
feet
Size
Height: 60 to
80
feet
Spread: 40 to
60
feet
Size
Height: 60 to
80
feet
Spread: 40 to
60
feet
Typical Landscape Use
Edible nuts,wood great to flavor Bar-b-q, American Indians made cooking oil from the nuts, can use the sap to make syrup, wood is hard and has great character/color variations for making furniture and hardwood floors.
Establishment and Care Instructions
Grow in humus rich soil. Adaptable to many soils as long as drainage is good and there is no standing water.
Basic Description

A large tree of great character. The gray to brown bark peels off in thin sections, curling at the ends while staying attached in the middle. The trunks are usually straight, the foliage has 5 leaflets and is deep yellow green casting a beautiful light onto the peeling bark. Fall color is rich yellow and golden brown tones. Produces large, edible hickory nuts. Host plant to butterflies. Used by bats.According to Illinois Wildflowers: A large number of insects feed on the wood, foliage, plant juices, and other parts of hickories (Carya spp.). Caterpillars of the butterflies Satyrium caryaevorum (Hickory Hairstreak) and Satyrium calanus falacer (Banded Hairstreak) feed on these trees, as do caterpillars of many moths (see Moth Table). Among these moth species, Catocala angusi (Angus Underwing), Catocala judith(Judith Underwing), and Catocala residua (Residua Underwing) feed on Shagbark Hickory exclusively (Wagner et al., 2009).

Special Features
Interesting Bark, Nuts
Special Usage
Edible

Where Should I Start?

Check out the Grow Native! Committee’s Top Ten picks of native plants for a particular purpose.

What’s the Next Step?

Picked out your plants? View our Resource Guide of garden centers, seed sources, landscapers, education resources, and more!

Where Can I Find This Plant in Nature?

Learn about the Native Environment(s) inhabited by the plants in this database.

Support the Grow Native! Program