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Similar but less problematic plants:
Carya ovata Carya ovata
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus phellos Quercus phellos
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Quercus falcata Quercus falcata, bark

Mockernut Hickory Carya alba

Previously known as:

  • Carya tomentosa
Description

The Carya tomentosa is a deciduous tree that may grow 50 to 70 feet tall.   Nuts are edible for humans but can be very difficult to extract from the husks, thus the name of mockernut.  Due to its ample size, they produce a considerable amount of litter through leaf and fruit drop.

The wood is strong and is used for making furniture, fence posts, tool handles, and ladders.  It also makes excellent firewood. This tree may be difficult to transplant due to its long taproot.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

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

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Hickory bark beetle, pecan weevil, borers and twig girdler.  White heart rot, anthracnose, leaf blotch, powdery mildew, leaf spot, cankers, catlin blight, crown gall, and scab are occasional diseases. 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#shade tree#songbirds#wildlife plant#moths#cover plant#host plant#squirrels#edible nuts#furniture wood#nuts#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#chipmunks#black bears#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#shade tree#songbirds#wildlife plant#moths#cover plant#host plant#squirrels#edible nuts#furniture wood#nuts#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#chipmunks#black bears#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carya
    Species:
    alba
    Family:
    Juglandaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used as lumber, pulpwood, charcoal, fuelwood, veneer, ladder rungs, athletic goods, agricultural implements, dowels, gymnasium apparatus, poles, shafts, well pumps, furniture, pallets, blocking
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. Ontario to Central & E. U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Found in New Hampshire and PA south through FL west to TX north through OK, NB, Missouri, and IO east through IL and MI
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    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. Fruit is consumed by wood ducks, red-bellied woodpeckers, red fox, squirrels, beaver, eastern cottontail, eastern chipmunk, turkey, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and white-footed mice. Provide cavities for woodpeckers, black ratsnake, raccoons, and carolina chickadees
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer. Fire in the landscape.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    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.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    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.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    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 5-7 leaflets. The stem is covered with resinous, pungent hairs and are aromatic when cut or bruised. The leaves turn an attractive yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark of both young and old trees exhibit smooth, rounded interlacing ridges with shallow furrows.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Problems:
    Messy