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Toxic parts

None known

Edible uses


Seed - raw or cooked and used in pies, cakes, bread etc[1][2][3][4][5]. Sweet and delicious[6][7][5]. The seed can be ground into a meal and used to thicken soups etc[5]. A nut milk can be prepared from the seed and this is used as a butter on bread, vegetables etc[5]. The shell is normally thick and hard[8] but in selected cultivars it can be thin[9]. The seed ripens in late autumn and can be stored for up to 2 years in a cool cellar[7]. The seed is up to 4cm long[10]. Sap - sweet[11]. It is tapped in spring[8] and can be made into a syrup[12].

Unknown part

Material uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the inner bark[12]. Wood - close-grained, tough, elastic, heavy and very hard. It weighs 52lb per cubic foot[13]. An excellent quality wood, it is used for tool handles, wheel spokes, sporting goods, baskets etc[14][3][15][16][13][10]. The wood is an excellent fuel, burning well and giving off a lot of heat[10]. It produces an excellent charcoal[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The fresh small shoots have been steamed to make an inhalant for treating headaches[11]. A decoction of the bark has been taken internally to treat rheumatism and also used as a poultice on rheumatic joints[11].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - requires a period of cold stratification. It is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[17]. Stored seed should be kept moist (but not wet) prior to sowing and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible[17]. Where possible, sow 1 or 2 seeds only in each deep pot and thin to the best seedling. If you need to transplant the seedlings, then do this as soon as they are large enough to handle, once more using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Put the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in their first summer, and give them some protection from the cold for at least the first winter[78, K]. Seed can also be sown in situ so long as protection is given from mice etc and the seed is given some protection from cold[18] (a plastic bottle with the top and bottom removed and a wire mesh top fitted to keep the mice out is ideal)

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Carya ovata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a deep moisture-retentive loam in a sunny sheltered position, requiring a good summer for best development[6][15][19][18]. Succeeds in drier soils than most members of this genus[18]. Slow growing[18]. A very ornamental but slow-growing tree[6][20][13], it grows well in Britain, especially when young[20][19], and does well in Cornwall[21]. The tree has a loose grey bark that comes away in broad flakes and gives the tree its common name[20]. The shagbark hickory is occasionally cultivated for its edible seed, there are some named varieties[5]. It tends to be low-yielding[7] and is said to be of no value in Britain as a commercial nut crop[20]. Trees take 15 years to come into flower from seed[7]. This species is the fastest growing hickory in N. America, it can fruit in ten years from seed[19]. Recommended cultivars (these are often hybrids with C. cathayensis or C. laciniosa) include:-

         Shagbarks - 'J Yoder No. 1', heavy cropping and early[18]. 'Porter'. 'Weschcke', a very thin shell and regular cropper[18]. 'Wilcox', an excellent producer[18].
         Shellbarks (these are more likely to be hybrids with C. laciniosa) - 'Fayette', thin shelled[18]. 'Henry', a very large nut[18].

Cultivated as a timber tree in C. Europe[22]. Plants are strongly tap-rooted and should be planted in their permanent positions as soon as possible[6][19]. Sowing in situ would be the best method so long as the seed could be protected from mice[6][18]. Trees are late coming into leaf (usually late May to June) and lose their leaves early in the autumn (usually in October)[19]. During this time they cast a heavy shade. These factors combine to make the trees eminently suitable for a mixed woodland planting with shrubs and other trees beneath them[19]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[18]. Most species in this genus have quite a wide range of distribution and, in order to find trees more suited to this country, seed from the most appropriate provenances should be sought[19]. Most trees growing in Britain at present tend to only produce good seed after hot summers[19]. Trees are self-fertile but larger crops of better quality seeds are produced if cross-pollination takes place[10]. The leaves are aromatic[23].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Carya ovata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Carya ovata.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Carya ovata
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Carya ovata.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-01-01)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-01-01)
    3. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-01-01)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-01-01)
    5. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-01-01)
    6. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-01-01)
    7. ? Rosengarten. jnr. F. The Book of Edible Nuts. Walker & Co. ISBN 0802707699 (1984-01-01)
    8. ? Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-01-01)
    9. ? 9.09.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-01-01)
    10. ? Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-01-01)
    11. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-01-01)
    12. ? Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-01-01)
    13. ? Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-01-01)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-01-01)
    15. ? Howes. F. N. Nuts. Faber (1948-01-01)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-01-01)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-01-01)
    18. ? 18.0018.0118.0218.0318.0418.0518.0618.0718.0818.0918.1018.11 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-01-01)
    19. ? ? The Plantsman. Vol. 9. 1986 - 1987. Royal Horticultural Society (1986-01-01)
    20. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-01-01)
    21. ? Thurston. Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall. ()
    22. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-01-01)
    23. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-01-01)
    24. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-01-01)
    Facts about "Carya ovata"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Belongs to familyJuglandaceae +
    Belongs to genusCarya +
    Has binomial nameCarya ovata +
    Has common nameShagbark Hickory +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +, Sap + and Seed +
    Has edible useMilk + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Wind +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has growth rateSlow +
    Has hardiness zone4 +
    Has imageCarya ovata.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDye +, Fuel + and Wood +
    Has mature height30 +
    Has mature width15 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnalgesic + and Antirheumatic +
    Has primary imageCarya ovata.jpg +
    Has search namecarya ovata + and shagbark hickory +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameCarya ovata +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy +
    Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
    Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedYes +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedYes +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Carya ovata +, Carya ovata +, Carya ovata +, Carya ovata +, Carya ovata +, Carya ovata +, Carya ovata + and Carya ovata +