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Carya tomentosa

Common Name(s):
Mockernut hickory
Native Plants, Trees

The Carya tomentosa is a deciduous tree that may grow 50 to 70 feet tall.    The bark of both young and old trees exhibit smooth, rounded interlacing ridges with shallow furrows.  

This tree may be difficult to transplant due to its long taproot.

Nuts are edible for humans but can be very difficult to extract from the husks, thus the name of mockernut.

The wood of this tree is strong and has been used in the past for fence posts, yokes, wheels, tool handles, ladders and furniture.  The wood also makes an excellent firewood.  The wood is also harvested for furniture.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont and Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves:  Fall     Bloom:  Spring    Fruit/Seed/Nut:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  The Mockernut hickory is a host plant for Banded Hairstreak butterfly and many moths.  The nuts are eaten by squirrels, chipmunks and black bears.  It is also moderately deer resistant.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  The Mockernut hickory is susceptible to Hickory bark beetle, pecan weevil, borers and twig girdler can be a problem.  White heart rot, anthracnose, leaf blotch, powdery mildew, leaf spot, cankers, catlin blight, crown gall, and scab are occasional diseases.  Due to the large size of the mockernut hickory, they can produce considerable litter through twig, leaf and fruit (nut) drop.

50-60 ft.
The flower of the Mockernut hickory is a short, slim, cylindrical, non-showy, monoecious yellowish-green, and blooms in April-May. The male flowers are drooping catkins up to 6" long. The female flowers are on short spikes. The Female flowers give way to fruits (rounded nuts), but only after the tree reaches about 25 years old. Each nut is encased in a thick, four-grooved husk which splits open in the fall when ripe.
The Mockernut hickory is best grown in humusy, rich, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The best growing conditions include moist soil.
Narrow to broadly rounded crown, straight trunk
Sun to partial shade
40-60 ft.
Growth Rate:
The leaf of the Mockernut hickory (each 6-12" long) is alternate, compound, odd-pinnate, dark yellowish-green and have 5 to 7 toothed ovate-lanceolate leaflets. The stem is covered with resinous, pungent hairs and are aromatic when cut or bruised. The leaves turn an attractive yellow in fall.
butterfly, host plant, deciduous, edible nut, furniture wood, shade tree, squirrels, deer resistant

NCCES plant id: 1939

Carya tomentosa Carya tomentosa
Charles Wohlers, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Carya tomentosa Carya tomentosa
Suzanne Cadwell, CC BY-NC-2.0
Carya tomentosa Carya tomentosa
Matt Bright, CC BY-NC-2.0
Carya tomentosa Carya tomentosa
Lisa Shannon, CC-BY-SA-2.0