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CARYA tomentosa

Image of Carya tomentosa

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Juglandaceae

Botanical Name

CARYA tomentosa

Plant Common Name

Mockernut Hickory

General Description

Distinguished by its downy young shoots and its fragrant foliage, mockernut hickory is a medium to tall deciduous tree from eastern North America. Long-trunked with an oval crown, it has dark gray bark that is smooth at first but deeply furrowed at maturity. The compound leaves are divided into 5 to 9 lance-shaped leaflets, with one leaflet at the tip and the others paired. Silvery and downy upon emergence, they mature to shiny yellow-green, and turn butter yellow in fall. Inconspicuous flowers appear in spring, with male flowers borne in drooping catkins on second year wood, and female flowers in short spikes at the tips of the new growth. Pollination is by wind. Green, spherical, thick-husked fruits ripen to red-brown in fall, each fruit containing a hard-shelled nut with a small sweet dark brown kernel at its center. The nutmeats are valuable to wildlife and edible to humans. This tree has hard, elastic wood that is valuable for furniture making, wood flooring and tool handles. Slow burning, it is excellent for fuel or for adding a pleasing flavor to smoked meats. Native Americans harvested the nuts of this tree for food, oil, and medicinal purposes, and wove the inner bark into baskets.

Give this tree ample space and sunlight. Its long taproot grows best in deep well-drained soil. Use it in groups or as an individual specimen in parks, large residential properties, or naturalistic plantings.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50'-80' / 15.2m - 24.4m

  • Width

    30'-50' / 9.1m - 15.2m

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes