Carya ovalis (Wangenh.) Sarg.

  • Family: Juglandaceae
  • Common names: red hickory, pignut hickory
  • Synonyms: Hicoria ovalis, C. glabra var. odorata, C. ovalis var. mollis, C. ovalis var. obcordata, C. ovalis var. obovalis, C. ovalis var. odorata

    Tree to 20 m (65 ft) tall and 30 cm (1 ft) diameter, with irregular spreading crown. Bark light gray and smoothish, becoming fissured into forking ridges on older trunks and branches. Twigs thick, glabrous, reddish-brown. The single terminal bud is large, egg-shaped, with glabrous overlapping scales. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, 15-25 cm (6-10 in) long, with a slender scurfy-hairy rachis. Leaflets 3-7 (usually 5), lanceolate, 7.5-15 cm (3-6 in) long, acuminate, finely serrate, glabrous yellow-green above, pale green and usually hairy on veins below. Flowers catkins appearing in the early spring. Fruits rounded, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) long, with a thin husk.

    Distribution: Native to about the eastern 1/3 of the U. S.
    Habitat: upland forests.
    NWI status: UPL
    Comment: The nuts of all the hickories are important food for wildlife, especially squirrels. The seeds of red hickory are thick-shelled, sometimes bitter. Carya is the ancient Greek name for walnut; ovalis refers to the egg-shaped nuts.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/8/99
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