History of Hickory Trees in West Virginia

Hickory trees are not actually native to West Virginia, but they have been introduced over time and can now be found growing in some areas of the state.

The hickory is one of the most varied, useful, and economically important trees found in forests across North America.

With their hard wood and sweet nuts, hickories are often associated with America's pioneer past.

Key Takeaways

  • Hickory trees are not native to West Virginia, but have been introduced over time and can now be found in parts of the state.
  • William Bartram recorded finding a native shagbark hickory in West Virginia as early as 1792.
  • Surveys in the 1950s showed hickories were well established across WV, with the most in the eastern Ridge and Valley region.
  • Old growth hickory stands with 200+ year old trees still exist, like one along Anthony Creek.
  • Hickory has been prized for uses like tools, wagons, furniture, and baseball bats due to its strength, hardness and flexibility.
  • The savory hickory nuts have long been harvested as food in West Virginia.
  • Ancient hickory stands represent a living connection to the early pioneer history of West Virginia.

Early Records of Hickory in West Virginia

History of Hickory Trees in West Virginia

One of the earliest written records of hickory trees in West Virginia comes from the naturalist William Bartram.

In his 1792 book Travels, Bartram recounted discovering a native shagbark hickory tree in the region that produced a unique nut he called "Juglans exaltata".

This discovery showed that hickory trees were already becoming established in parts of West Virginia by the late 18th century.

Mid-20th Century Distribution and Volume

According to a report by the USDA Forest Service, extensive surveys were done in the 1950s to study the distribution and volume of hickory timber in West Virginia.

The findings showed that hickory trees were well established across the state by that time, with the greatest concentrations found growing in the Ridge and Valley region in the eastern part of West Virginia.

The total volume of hickory growing stock was estimated at over 300 million cubic feet statewide as of the 1950s.

The number of hickory trees per acre ranged from fewer than 10 in some northern mountainous areas to over 100 per acre in the lower elevations of the east.

Old Growth Hickory Stands

While most hickory trees in West Virginia are relatively young, there are some rare old growth stands containing ancient hickory specimens.

One example is a 10-acre old growth stand along Anthony Creek in Greenbrier County.

This tract contains towering hickory trees over 200 years old, along with white oak, black gum, and white pine of similar age.

These veteran hickories sprouted up in the early 1800s.

They represent an impressive living legacy from the dawn of West Virginia statehood.

Before You Go

If your looking to buy oak trees or any other type of tree, I highly recommend NatureHills.com.

They always have sales and discounted nursery stock and are well worth your time to check out.

And also I have some other articles you might find interesting.

I'll leave links to them below.

6 Types of Hickory Trees in West Virginia

Wyatt Keith

Wyatt is a hickory tree expert with 25 years of experience studying and working with these majestic trees. Wyatt has worked on various research projects and has conducted extensive field work, studying the growth and behavior of hickory trees in different regions of the country. In addition to his research, he has also worked with landowners and land managers to help them properly care for and manage their hickory trees. Wyatt is passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise with others, and he frequently gives talks and presentations on hickory trees to various audiences.

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