Carya laciniosa, commonly known as the shellbark hickory, is a species of hickory tree native to eastern North America. Here are some key information about the species:
- Appearance: Shellbark hickory trees are typically large, growing up to 100 feet tall with a trunk diameter of up to 4 feet. The bark is gray and shaggy, and peels off in long strips. The leaves are pinnate, with 7-9 leaflets that are lance-shaped and pointed, and can grow up to 12 inches long.
- Distribution: The species is native to the eastern United States, ranging from southern Michigan to eastern Texas and from central Mississippi to southern Ontario.
- Habitat: Shellbark hickory trees are typically found in bottomlands and floodplains, along rivers and streams, and in wetter areas of upland forests. They prefer deep, moist, and fertile soils.
- Uses: The nuts of the shellbark hickory are edible and highly prized for their rich, sweet flavor. The wood is also highly valued for its strength, durability, and attractive grain pattern, and is used for furniture, flooring, tool handles, and other purposes.
- Conservation status: The species is considered secure and is not currently listed as threatened or endangered. However, like many tree species, it is vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation due to land use changes and development.
- Interesting facts: The shellbark hickory is one of the largest and longest-lived of the hickory species, with some individuals known to live for over 500 years. The nuts are a valuable food source for a variety of wildlife, including squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and birds. The bark was traditionally used by Native American tribes to make baskets and other wood products