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PlantFiles: Shellbark Hickory
Carya laciniosa

Family: Juglandaceae (joo-glan-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carya (KAIR-yuh) (Info)
Species: laciniosa (la-sin-ee-OH-suh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts

over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By ineedacupoftea
Thumbnail #1 of Carya laciniosa by ineedacupoftea


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of our most beautiful large native shade trees, and one of the few in whose shade a garden or lawn can flourish. Glowing golden fall color is early and long-lasting. I find the shaggy gray bark distinctively beautiful.

Endangered in New York and threatened in Maryland, this species is rare throughout most of its native range. It is in most respects very similar to shagbark hickory, Carya ovata. It tends to grow somewhat smaller.

Straight-trunked with an oval crown, commonly reaching 60-80', rarely to 120'. The wood is strong and valued commercially for many uses.

The nuts are tasty and sweet, if you can beat the squirrels to them. Thick-shelled like black walnuts, falling nuts have been known to dent cars, so plant these trees away from streets and parking areas. The nuts are valuable to birds and wildlife.

A tree of rich bottom lands, it tolerates shallow spring flooding. It does not prosper in heavy clay soils, but is otherwise adaptable to a variety of soils and exposures, and suitable for planting over a wide swathe of North America. Yet it's rarely planted, because it's relatively slow-growing, and because seedlings produce a taproot reaching down 2-3' before they get more than a few inches high. The taproot makes transplanting difficult, though 2-3' seedlings are available by mailorder.

It should be planted more often. Not for the impatient.

I know of nowhere where this tree might be weedy or invasive.

Positive jqpublic On Jan 29, 2009, jqpublic from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is a beautiful tree who nuts were disseminated by Native Americans and then farmed once large enough for those same nuts. The nuts made their way all the way over to Durham, NC where there is a disjunct population along New Hope Creek (most likely a leftover Native American hickory farm). The NC state champion is also located among that grove of trees...with an amazing trunk diameter of 3 feet!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lagrange, Georgia
Benton, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Weatherby, Missouri
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wytheville, Virginia
North Omak, Washington

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