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Common Name:

Shagbark Hickory

Scientific Name:

Carya ovata

Family Name:



Shagbark Hickory is an important component of the eastern decidous hardwood forest of North America. It is typically a tall upright tree, often devoid of limbs on the lower portion of the trunk. Trunks of older trees have handsome recurved exfoliating bark. Trees may have excellent golden yellow fall color and produce edible hickory nuts.

Plant Habit or Use:

Medium tree, large tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Green, not ornamental

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Hickory nuts encased in a 4-valved woody husk.


70 ft to 80 ft (180 ft)


30 ft to 40 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Low Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: High Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Low Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Excellent wildlife plant. Very slow growing, preserve insitu specimens or plant for your grandchildren.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.