Tree and Plant Identification #4 – Hickory

Journal Notes: Hickory – Is a species of deciduous hardwood tree with featured compound leaves and big oval shaped nuts. The nuts can be anywhere from 2-5 cm in length and 1.5 – 3 cm in diameter. They are enclosed in a four valved husk which splits open at maturity. The nut shell is thick and bony in most species but a few varieties have thin shells. The nut is divided into two halves which split apart when the seed germinates. Some species of hickory include pecan, shagbark, walnut, etc. There are no poisonous varieties I’m aware of but the bitternut and the pignut, which have thin shells, are considered inedible. The nuts ripen in late summer to early fall. From September – November the green husks begin to turn dark brown, split open and fall from the tree. When collecting the nuts, remove any husks and check for weevil holes, rot or disease and discard if they appear defective. Crack open the nutshell to access the tender nut meat inside. They can be eaten raw, dried and roasted or added to breads and bannocks.


Shagbark found in Lincoln, RI

Disclaimer:  As far as we know the information provided is accurate. New England Woods LLC DOES NOT recommend any person or animal touch, taste, ingest, harvest, etc any plant material or organic matter found outdoors without receiving proper training from an expert in foraging, botany or biology, as well as consulting a health professional first. New England Woods LLC, its staff and volunteers ARE NOT experts, biologists, botanists or professional foragers. New England Woods LLC and its volunteers and staff, ARE NOT liable for any injury, allergy, or death which may result from information found on this website. This website and blog are intended to distribute general and basic information only. 

One thought on “Tree and Plant Identification #4 – Hickory

  1. Too bad for me, I missed out on the Black Walnuts this year :(.
    Great post, nut trees like hickories and walnuts are loaded in nutritious fats and provide extra calories – ideal survival food. Butternut/White Walnut has the highest fat content, if I’m not mistaken. Some Natives would boil the nut meats in water in order to extract the oils.

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