Two Species of Hickory can be found on the park grounds, the shagbark hickory and the Bitternut hickory know as the smooth bark hickory. Both Species can be found in the forest area along the northern property boundary of the park near the beaver dam/pond. The shagbark hickory tree can be seen along the access road at the baseball conplex.

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata (Mill.) K. Koch

Juglandaceae -- Walnut family  Text by: David L. Graney

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is probably the most distinctive of all the hickories because of its loose-plated bark. Common names include shellbark hickory, scalybark hickory, shagbark, and upland hickory. Shagbark hickory is evenly distributed throughout the Eastern States and, together with pignut hickory, furnishes the bulk of the commercial hickory. The tough resilient properties of the wood make it suitable for products subject to impact and stress. The sweet nuts, once a staple food for American Indians, provide food for wildlife.


Native Range

Shagbark hickory is found throughout most of the Eastern United States from southeastern Nebraska and southeastern Minnesota through southern Ontario and southern Quebec to southern Maine, southward to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas, and disjunctly in the mountains of northeastern Mexico. It is largely absent from the southeastern and Gulf coastal plains and lower Mississippi Delta areas.

Special Uses

Hickories serve as food for many wildlife species. The nuts are a preferred food of squirrels and are eaten from the time fruits approach maturity in early August until the supply is gone. Hickory nuts also are 5 to 10 percent of the diet of eastern chipmunks. In addition to the mammals above, black bears, gray and red foxes, rabbits, and white-footed mice plus bird species such as mallards, wood ducks, bobwhites, and wild turkey utilize small amounts of hickory nuts . Hickory is not a preferred forage species and seldom is browsed by deer when the range is in good condition. Hickory foliage is browsed by livestock only when other food is scarce.

The bark texture and open irregular branching of shagbark hickory make it a good specimen tree for naturalistic landscapes on large sites. It is an important shade tree in previously wooded residential areas. At least one ornamental cultivar of shagbark hickory has been reported, but it is not planted as an ornamental to any great extent.

The wood of the true hickories is known for its strength, and no commercial species of wood is equal to it in combined strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness (18). Dominant uses for hickory lumber are furniture, flooring, and tool handles. The combined strength, hardness, and shock resistance make it suitable for many specialty products such as ladder rungs, dowels, athletic goods, and gymnasium equipment.

  Bitternut Hickory, Carya cordiformis (Wangenh.) K. Koch


Juglandaceae -- Walnut family

H. Clay Smith

Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), also called bitternut, swamp hickory, and pignut hickory, is a large pecan hickory with commercial stands located mostly north of the other pecan hickories.

Bitternut hickory is cut and sold in mixture with the true hickories. It is the shortest lived of the hickories, living to about 200 years. The dark brown close-grained hardwood is highly shock resistant which makes it excellent for tools. It also makes good fuel wood and is planted as an ornamental.


Native Range

Bitternut hickory is probably the most abundant and most uniformly distributed of all the hickories. It grows throughout the eastern United States from southwestern New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and southern Quebec; west to southern Ontario, central Michigan, and northern Minnesota; south to eastern Texas; and east to northwestern Florida and Georgia. It is most common, however, from southern New England west to Iowa and from southern Michigan south to Kentucky.

Special Uses

Bitternut is used for lumber and pulpwood. Pecan. hickories, such as bitternut, are not equal to true hickories in strength, hardness, and toughness. Based on ovendry weight and green volume, the specific gravity of green bitternut wood is 0.60; at 12 percent moisture content, the specific gravity is 0.66.

Hickory species are most desirable for charcoal and fuelwood; pecan hickories are less desirable than the ~rue hickories. Bitternut hickory ranks third in heating value among hickories; it burns with ~m intense flame and leaves little ash.

Because bitternut hickory wood is hard and durable, it is used for furniture, paneling, dowels, to handles, and ladders. It is a choice fuel for smoking meats. Other uses include bars, crates', pallets, and flooring.

Bitternut hickory seeds are eaten by wildlife but are of little value for human consumption because of their high tannin content, and extreme bitterness and astringency. Seeds do not usually constitute a large portion of the diet of squirrels. Rabbits, beavers, and small rodents and mammals occasionally feed on the bark of hickory species. The foliage of bitternut, hickory has a high calcium content and is near the top of the list of soil-improving species.

Early settlers used oil extracted from the nuts for oil lamps. They also believed the oil was valuable as a cure for rheumatism. Bitternut hickory is desirable as an ornamental or shade tree, and the dense root system provides good soil stability.