Shagbark hickory - carya ovata Shagbark hickory - carya ovata


A fine group of deciduous trees with pinnately compound leaves and large nuts. They are commonly known as hickories with nineteen species in the genus. A member of the Juglandaceae family along with the walnuts and wingnuts. Twelve are native to eastern N. America, one from Mexico and six from China and Indochina.

Along with the oaks, hickories truly dominate the N.American forests and can reach 25m in height. Hickory timber is hard, stiff, dense and very shock resistant. It has the best combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness of any commercial wood. It's used for axe handles, lacrosse and shinty sticks, golf club shafts and paddles. Hickory wood is also a preferred type for smoke curing meats. Shagbark and shellbark hickories, along with the pecan, are regarded by some as the finest edible nut trees.

The Collection

Our collection was planted by Torbay Council in the early 1990's at a time when the arboretum at Cockington Country Park was extended. The collection is now managed by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. There are ten species in the collection, all North American. The trees were initially planted rather close together and are due to be thinned out over the next couple of years with more plants added in the surrounding area. The collection is located towards the south west corner of the arboretum (up the slope) and there are fine views of the grounds of Cockington Court and surrounding countryside. In additon there are a number of rare and interesting trees within the arboretum including two British Champions; the Tibetian cherry and Kashmir cypress. A tree trail marked on two interpretation boards (both on the main driveway) indicate the location of the collection and a number of other interesting trees in the arboretum.

Collection details