Home Prairie and Wetland Center
16245 S US Hwy 71
Belton, MO 64012
Tel: (816) 331-9738
Fax: (816) 331-9739

Carya ovata

Shagbark Hickory

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Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)

A large tree of great character, the Shagbark Hickory is found on a broad variety of natural sites making it a highly adaptable species for landscape use. 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 five 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.

Additional Information:
Crushed leaves have a apple scent. A long lived tree. They are considered to produce a lot of 'litter'(bark and nuts) so place accordingly.Host to a rare Hickory Hairstreak Butterfly.

60-80 Feet


40-60 Feet


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

Home Owner Growing and Maintenance Tips:
Edible nuts, wood great to flavor bar-b-que, 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.

Good Companions
White Oak (Quercus alba), Black Cohosh (Actaea podocarpa), Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica), Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Characteristics & Attributes

Hydrologic Designation


Nature Attracting


Season of Interest

Mid (May-June)
Late (July-frost)
Winter (Nov-Mar)
Early (Feb-Apr)

Soil Moisture


Special Features

Interesting Bark

Sun Exposure

Full Sun
Medium Sun/Average Shade

USFS MO Ecological Map

Wildlife Benefit

Butterfly Host
Food/Small Animals