Plants and People Project

Hickory - Carya.

"The wood of hickories is prized for furniture, flooring, tool handles, baseball bats, skis, and veneers." Field Guide to Trees of the Eastern Region

The wood of hickory is used in smoking foods especially meats like pork and beef. Hickory is a valuable fuel wood.

It has also been used for bow-wood, and wheel spokes for carriages and carts.Worldbook Cyber Camp

The native Americans crushed the kernels of Shagbark Hickories, using the oil for cooking and the nut flour for bread.

"The Creeks store up (the nuts) in their towns. I have seen above a hundred bushels of these nuts belonging to one family. They pound them to pieces, and then cast them into boiling water, which, after passing through fine strainers, preserves the most oily part of the liquid; this they call by a name which signifies hiccory milk; it is as sweet and rich as fresh cream, and is an ingredient in most of their cookery, especially homony and corn cakes." William Bartram

The word hickory comes from the Virginia Algonquian name for the tree: "pocohiquara". American Indian Loan Words

The bark of hickory will yield a yellow green dye, but because it is difficult to make the dye, it is not preferred for dyeing. Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing

"A black dye can be extracted from the bark of Mockernut Hickory by boiling it in vinegar solution." Common Trees of PA.

Yellow and yellow-brown dyes were also obtained from white hickory bark. Natural Dyes and Hone Dyeing

Carya Fruits (hickory nuts)

Hickory nuts are an important food source for many wild animals including squirrels and chipmunks. Mast source The leaves are larval food for Banded Hairstreaks.

Hickories can be an exceptional landscape tree. The shagbark variety offers winter interest in the unusual bark.

The pecan is a species of hickory cultivated for its sweet, high-quality, thin-shelled nuts. Pecan tree (to the left) planted by George Washington at Mount Vernon. How tall is this glorious tree? The height of the Mansion from the first floor to the ridge of the roof is 33' 6". From the ridge of the roof to the top of the weathervane is another 25'. Mount Vernon facts

stately pecan at Mount Vernon

Identification and other facts / More facts / PLANTS database


Close-up of hickory nut on tree

Hickory ID

Mockernut Hickory

Angiosperm families off site

What tree is it? off site

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

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Posted 8/16/05 Cindy O'Hora