Trees of Wisconsin

Carya ovata (Mill.) K.Koch
shagbark hickory
Family: Juglandaceae
tree leaf bud fruit bark

Carya ovata is another easy species to identify. The shaggy bark of mature trees is unmistakable and the large terminal buds with out-curved tips of the outer scales make it easy to recognize even after all the leaves have fallen in winter. Leaves are compound and alternate, usually with 5 leaflets, (but some leaves may have 7 leaflets). The nuts are highly prized by people (and squirrels) as a food item. When the buds open in May they swell to impressive size and the inner bud scales that emerge with the young leaves are large and colorful, sometimes prompting people to mistake them for flowers.

Carya ovata is common in southern Wisconsin, often in the company of oaks. It is near its northern range limit in Brown County, with only a few trees extending its range into southern Door County in the east and very sparsely represented in the northwestern portion of Brown County. On the west side of the state it is found north to Buffalo County. Flowering begins in early June in the Green Bay Area.

known Wisconsin distribution


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