West Virginia is home to several species of hickory trees that are native to the state.
These native hickories are important ecologically and economically in West Virginia's forests.
Here are some of the key native hickories found in West Virginia:
- West Virginia has four common native hickory species that play important ecological roles in the state's forests.
- Native hickories like shagbark and mockernut provide food, habitat, timber and more.
- Non-native pecans and black hickory have been introduced to the state and can grow well in some areas.
- Learning to identify the different native and non-native hickories can deepen one's connection with West Virginia's forests.
1. Shagbark Hickory
The shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is one of the most common native hickories in West Virginia.
It gets its name from the long, peeling strips of bark that give the trunk a shaggy appearance.
The nuts have a thick husk that splits all the way to the base.
2. Mockernut Hickory
Mockernut hickory (Carya alba) has tight bark and produces small, thick-shelled nuts.
It can reach 60-80 feet tall and hybridizes with shagbark hickory.
3. Pignut Hickory
Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) is a smaller hickory, growing around 50 feet tall.
It earned its name from its bitter tasting nuts. The crown is rounded and open.
4. Bitternut Hickory
Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) has distinctive sulfur-yellow buds. The leaves have 7-11 slender leaflets.
The nuts are exceptionally bitter.
These native West Virginia hickories provide food and habitat for wildlife.
Their tough, strong wood is valuable for tools, athletic equipment, and other uses.
They are an integral part of the state's natural forests.
Non-Native Hickories in West Virginia
In addition to the native species, there are also some non-native hickories that have been introduced and can be found growing in parts of West Virginia:
5. Pecan Hickory
Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is the most widely planted and naturalized non-native hickory in the state.
Pecan trees produce delicious edible nuts and are grown commercially in some areas.
6. Black Hickory
Black hickory (Carya texana) is native to Texas but can be found in some regions of West Virginia as an introduced species.
The bark is ridged and furrowed.
These non-native hickories can grow well in West Virginia but their natural range is centered outside of the state.
They contribute diversity to urban landscapes and timber products but do not have the same ecological importance as the native species.
Before You Go
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And also I have some other articles you might find interesting.
I'll leave links to them below.