Hickory Nut Types - Knowledgebase Question

Oxford, IA
Question by rogmast
October 3, 1999
How come some hickory nuts are 1/2" and some are closer to 1 1/2". I have also noticed some that are pointed, some are round, and some are wedge shaped, of course from different trees. I have not found any information on the kinds of trees these are from. These are generally small trees about 15' to 25' tall. The nuts are at least twice the size of the shag bark nuts and may at times be 3 times the bulk per nut. What kind of hickory nuts do I have? I plan on planting these seeds and have only tasted one so far but it was pretty good. It could have been sweeter but then it was not dry either.


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Answer from NGA
October 3, 1999

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Hickory's are Carya, and your shagbark hickory is Carya ovata, or Bigleaf Hickory. The smallest nuts come from C. myristicaeformis, or nutmeg hickory. Pointed nuts come from either C. tomentosa (mockernut hickory), or C. cordiformis, the bitternut hickory. The wedge-shaped nuts are either C. laciniosa (shellbark hickory), or C. ovata, the shagbark hickory. All hickory trees can reach 50'-100' feet at maturity, and won't produce until they're at least 20 years of age.

Your seeds will need 60 days of cold treatment prior to germination. Put them in the refrigerator, or leave them outdoors for that period of time before trying to sprout them. After the pre-chill treatment plant your seed in moistened seed starting mix and keep them at 70F-85F. Germination can take from 30-150 days.

Good luck with your new trees!

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