Shagbark Hickory

CARYA OVATA - Shagbark Hickory

The Shagbark Hickory trees are found in the Eastern United States and can live up to 300 years and grow to 100 feet tall. 

[Elementary School students]

Did you know?

Does this tree likes to stay in one place?

Shagbark Hickory trees have a tap (long, deep) root and do not like to be moved (transplanted).

This tree is used in cooking

The wood from Shagbark Hickory trees is used to cure (smoke) meats.

A US President was nicknamed after this tree

Andrew Jackson, nicknamed “Old Hickory”, (7th US President) was compared to the strong hard wood of a Hickory Tree.

Who likes to eat the fruit of this tree?

The fruit is a nut with a hard outer husk that splits open when ripe. Black bears, foxes, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and a number of birds enjoy the delicious nuts every fall.

How long can this tree live?

The lifespan of a full grown tree can average 200 years of age but some live to over 300 years old

Leaf: Green Summer

[Middle School students]

Habitat (where it likes to live)

Well drained soils in full sun and also in wet soils
Location: Eastern United States  (Zone 5 to 8a)

Requirements (what it needs to live)

Water: Medium to wet
Tolerates: Various soils
Maintenance: Medium

Identification (what it looks like)

Male trees have long stringy catkins
Female trees have an edible nut
Young trees have smooth gray bark
Older trees have peeling shaggy bark

[High School students]

Habit (how it grows)

Height: 70 to 90 feet
Spread: 50 to 70 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish - Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Leaf: Good fall color – yellow
Fruit: Showy, edible nuts

Suggested Use (where to plant it in the garden and landscape):

Residential settings – Large yards and estates
Parks – Seth Hand Park


  1. Missouri Botanic Garden –
  2. National Wildlife Foundation -
  3. Go Botany -