Herb: Shellbark Hickory


Latin name: Carya laciniosa


Synonyms: Carya sulcata, Hicoria laciniosa, Hicoria sulcata, Juglans laciniosa


Family: Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)



Medicinal use of Shellbark Hickory:

The inner bark is astringent and detergent. It has been used as a dressing for cuts and has been chewed to treat sore mouths.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
30 m
(98 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Deep rich soils of floodplains and bottomlands. It grows best on neutral or slightly alkaline soils and tolerates shallow flooding in early spring.

Edible parts of Shellbark Hickory:

Seed - raw or cooked in pies, cakes etc. Sweet, with a very fine flavour, it has the largest seeds of the hickories, up to 5cm long. Probably the finest flavoured hickory. The shell is hard and thick and the cracking quality is poor compared to C. ovata. The seed ripens in late autumn and, when stored in its shell in a cool place, will keep for at least 6 months. Sap - a sweet flavour. Tapped in spring, it can be boiled down to a syrup or sugar and be used in similar ways to maple syrup.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - close-grained, tough, hard, heavy, elastic, very flexible. It weighs 50 lb. per cubic foot. An excellent wood, it is used for tool handles, baskets, fuel etc.

Propagation of Shellbark Hickory:

Seed - requires a period of cold stratification. It is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be kept moist (but not wet) prior to sowing and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible. Where possible, sow 1 or 2 seeds only in each deep pot and thin to the best seedling. If you need to transplant the seedlings, then do this as soon as they are large enough to handle, once more using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Put the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in their first summer, and give them some protection from the cold for at least the first winter. Seed can also be sown in situ so long as protection is given from mice etc and the seed is given some protection from cold (a plastic bottle with the top and bottom removed and a wire mesh top fitted to keep the mice out is ideal)

Cultivation of the herb:

Deep rich soils of floodplains and bottomlands. It grows best on neutral or slightly alkaline soils and tolerates shallow flooding in early spring.

Known hazards of Carya laciniosa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.