Image for Shellbark Hickory

Shellbark Hickory

Scientific name

Carya laciniosa


The Shellbark Hickory is a large tree species that can grow up to 30 m in height. This species may also referred to as Shagbark Hickory, Bigleaf Shagbark Hickory or Western Shellbark. The bark is smooth and gray with shallow interlacing ridges, which turn into loose plates with age making it look shaggy. Leaves produced are vivid green and compound with seven lance-shaped leaflets alternately arranged along the branch. During the fall, these leaves turn a brilliant golden yellow. Between April and June, inconspicuous green-yellow flowers bloom in catkins. The edible nuts are round shaped, 5 cm long, have a thick husk, and ripen between September and October. These nuts can be eaten raw or baked in pies, similar to pecans. The Shellbark Hickory is a slow growing and long lived tree species, possessing the largest nut of the Hickory family. Many wildlife species, including Foxes, Deer, and Wild Turkeys depend on the nuts from this tree because it is a nutritious and substantial source of food. This tree deposits lots of debris, which can be good for increasing organic material but can also be high maintenance for clean up in urban areas.

Planting conditions

Shellbark Hickory grows best in full or partial sun exposure and moist or wet soil but can also be drought tolerant.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Drought Tolerant
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 30m
  • Spread:
    • 22m