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Smoothbark Hickory Carya glabra

Previously known as:

  • Carya leiodermis
  • Carya magnifloridana
  • Carya microcarpa
  • Hicoria austrina
  • Hicoria glabra
Phonetic Spelling
KAIR-yuh GLAY-bruh
Description

Pignut Hickory is a medium to a large deciduous tree that is native to eastern and central USA and parts of Canada. It is found in all areas of NC. As with most hickories, it is a strong, tall tree with a straight trunk and dense oval to rounded form. The wood is valued for its strength. Pignut Hickory produces nuts that can be bitter but are eaten by many different wildlife species.

It is adaptable to sandy or clay loams in well-drained soils in sun to partial sun. It is drought tolerant once established and has a deep taproot making it difficult to transplant. It may be difficult to find for sale commercially but can be used as a shade tree in large yards or parks. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  There are no serious insect or disease problems. Hickory bark beetle, pecan weevil, borers and twig girdler can be problems in some areas of its range. White heart rot, anthracnose, leaf blotch, powdery mildew, leaf spot, cankers, catkin blight, crown gall, and scab are occasional diseases. Large trees can produce considerable litter through twig, leaf, and fruit (nut) drop.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. odorata
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#street tree#squirrels#food source#NC native#foxes#mice#chipmunks#wood ducks#black bears#nighttime garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#audubon#hickory horndevil moth#banded hairstreak butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. odorata
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#street tree#squirrels#food source#NC native#foxes#mice#chipmunks#wood ducks#black bears#nighttime garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#audubon#hickory horndevil moth#banded hairstreak butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carya
    Species:
    glabra
    Family:
    Juglandaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood is used for lumber and firewood.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Eastern Canada to Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV Canada: ON
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for Banded hairstreak butterfly and many moths including the luna moth. It supports Hickory Horndevil (Citheronia regalis) which have one brood and appear from May to mid-September. Adult Hickory Horndevil moths do not feed. This plant also supports Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus) caterpillars which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May.The nuts are eaten by squirrels, chipmunks, black bears, deer, foxes, mice, wood ducks, hogs.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat and drought tolerant.
    Edibility:
    Nuts edible but can be bitter
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an oval 4-parted husk 1 inch long and ¾ inches across, green maturing to brown. It splits in fall to release the nut. The nutshell is tan, oval and slightly flattened containing edible meats. Displays in October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Very small female flowers are a green pistil with a few bracts. Male flowers are in drooping catkins 2-4 inches long and yellow-green. Blooms from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The compound leaves are 8 to 12 inches, alternate, pinnately with 5-7 leaflets. Leaflets are 2½-5" long and 1-2" across. The terminal leaflets are larger than the lower ones. They are lanceolate to elliptic, serrated and medium green. Undersides are paler. Fall color is a nice yellow.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Diamond
    Bark Description:
    Young trees is smooth with shallow cracks.  As the tree ages, bark develops flat, sharp-edged ridges that form diamond and x's.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The twigs are brown and glabrous. Smaller branches and twigs are often crooked.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Problems:
    Messy