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Swamp Hickory Carya myristiciformis

Other plants called Swamp Hickory:

Phonetic Spelling
KAIR-yuh MUH-riss-tick-aa-for-miss
Description

Nutmeg hickory is a large, deciduous, slow-growing tree that is the rarest of its species worldwide, but may be found in small numbers in a range from the mountains of northeastern Mexico to the coastal plain of North Carolina. At maturity, it will reach close to 100 feet high, but in its first 20 years of growth, it may only reach 30 feet high. This plant prefers full sun and moist rich soils and can be found on the banks of rivers and swamps, occasionally on higher ground, and often on limestone. The specific epithet myristiciformis refers to its seeds, which are similar to nutmeg seeds. The bark is scaly and reddish brown with a diamond-shaped pattern of ridges.

The tree will tolerate sandy or clay soils and is drought tolerant, but will not grow in the shade. Nutmeg hickory has a large tap root that can reach 4 feet or more into the ground and should be planted in its permanent location as soon as possible. Although the tree may be relatively late coming into leaf and lose its leaves early in the autumn, it does cast a heavy shade when leaves are present. The Nutmeg hickory leaf initially has an underside covered with silvery-golden scales that turn bronze as the leaves mature.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests. Insects will attack hickory, but damage is not usually catastrophic.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#edible nuts#small mammals#NC native#nighttime garden#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#rare#moth larvae#hickory horndevil moth
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#edible nuts#small mammals#NC native#nighttime garden#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#rare#moth larvae#hickory horndevil moth
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carya
    Species:
    myristiciformis
    Family:
    Juglandaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood is hard and strong and burns well with lots of heat.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern and southwestern United States
    Distribution:
    Found in NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, AR, OK, and TX
    Wildlife Value:
    Squirrels and rodents eat nuts. Larval host plant to Luna moth. This plant supports Hickory Horndevil (Citheronia regalis) larvae which have one brood and appear from May to mid-September. Adult Hickory Horndevil moths do not feed.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Drought
    Edibility:
    Seeds are edible, sweet tasting, but with a thick shell.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Elliptical 1 to 1.2 inch long nut with a thick husk splitting along four ridges. The seed ripens in late autumn and can be stored in its shell in a cool place for at least 6 months
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant flowered catkins with scaly stalks and bracts.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    7 to 14 inch alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets; silvery underneath with yellow fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Scaly
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Diamond
    Bark Description:
    Dark brown with fissures turning into long thin scales with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs brown to bronze, slender, without hairs, densely scaly. Terminal buds bronze, ovoid, essentially without hairs, densely scaly; axillary buds protected by bracteoles fused into hood.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought