Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata
Shagbark hickories produce very tasty and sweet hickory nuts, a favorite of squirrels and other critters. Can you spot any on the ground — or any animals snacking or storing nuts for a future meal?
The shagbark hickory tree is known in Southern Wisconsin and much of the Central-Eastern US for its loose “shaggy” bark. On average, these trees grow to about 100ft tall at maturity, which is when their bark begins to take on its iconic appearance. Some of these trees have been known to live for over 350 years!
While hotter temperatures are a problem for many other plants and animals, these trees actually prefer to grow in humid conditions and are even expected to have their habitat size increase with warming climates. Hickories are adapting to grow in more widespread areas, producing nuts, shade, wood, and shelter used by humans and animals alike! Can you spot any young hickories popping up around our prairie, possibly planted by squirrels storing nuts?