Carya sp. in New Jersey

Hickories have alternate, compound leaves with 5 to 11 leaflets (usually 5 or 7). The end leaflet is usually largest. Their fruit are nuts in a husk with four seams. They have large end buds and side buds that stick nearly straight out from the stem.

Except where planted, there are only four hickory species in NJ, which makes ID easier.

With three exceptions, they are easiest to ID from the nuts (with husks).


  • Any hickory (or tree in NJ) with bright yellow, elongated buds is bitternut (C. cordiformis).
  • Any hickory with shaggy bark is shagbark (C. ovata) (but be aware that shellbark can sometimes be seen planted in NJ and also has shaggy bark)
    -Any hickory with fuzzy leaf stems (or leaf rachis) or fuzzy twigs is mockernut (C. tomentosa)

Nuts come with thin husks (under 1 mm thick), medium husks (1-5 mm thick) and thick husks (5 + mm thick).
-Thick husks are shagbark
-Medium husks are mockernut
-Thin husks with very obvious wings are bitternut
-Thin husks with a "pig snout" shape to the stem end are pignut.

-Butternut tends to have more leaflets (7-11) that are often narrow.
-Shagbark rarely has more than 5.
-Pignut usually has 5
-Mockernut usually has 7

but all those can vary.

note butternut end leaflet is usually sessile, other species usually have a stem on the end leaflet.

Of the planted hickories, there is mostly shellbark (like a shagbark on steroids: thicker husks, peeling bark) and pecan (massively more leaflets, and those leaflets are curved back toward the stem end of the plant, thin shelled, elongated fruit).

Posted on Νοέμβριος 22, 2020 0332 ΜΜ by srall srall


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