Red Hickory Carya ovalis (Wangenheim) Sargent    Synonyms: False Shagbark, Hicoria microcarpa, Sweet Pignut Hickory.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Juglandales   >   Family Juglandaceae   >   Genus Carya   


Red Hickory's range is the eastern United States and some of the central states. It occurs primarily as scattered trees rather than in colonies, so is rarely a forest dominant.


Leaves usually have seven leaflets. Bark is light or dark gray, somewhat furrowed, and separates in thin, narrow plates on larger trunks (hence the alternate common name, False Shagbark Hickory). Differs from Shagbark Hickory in having more leaflets per leaf and smaller fruits with thinner husks. The fruits are round or nearly so, or oblong. They are light brown and split to the base when ripe.

Where to find:

In Maryland, Red Hickory is found mainly in moist upland woods in midland and mountain counties (Brown and Brown, 1972). A good place to find it is at Chapman State Park (Chapman Forest North), Charles County, Maryland.


Host plant for various moth species including Oldwife Underwing Moth and Banded Tussock Moth (Database of World's Lepidopteran Host Plants).

There are 10 records in the project database.

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Red Hickory with characteristic orange fall foliage in Charles Co., Maryland (11/4/2014). Photo by Rod Simmons. (MBP list)

Red Hickory in Talbot Co., Maryland (Date obscured). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

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