Figuring out Juglandaceae: Mockernut hickory

Bad time of year to be looking for leaves.

There is a difficulty in finding hickory trees in the winter. But here’s the fourth of the Piedmont juglandaceae, Carya tomentosa, the mockernut hickory. The common name refers to the nuts, which have a thick husk and a thick shell, so you are thinking you get a decent sized nut but all you get from all the crazy effort of getting to the meat is a little bitty thing. They are edible though. Just a lotta work. Get someone else to do it for you.

Nothin’ to see here

Mockernuts have (mostly) seven leaflets, with the two closest to the stem being very small, the next pair being bigger, and the third pair being the biggest. The bark isn’t particularly distinct unless you are good with bark. It’s grayish, and has a sort of diamond/herringbone pattern to it. Best to just look at a lotta trees and hope you get a functional search image. They are common, so at least you should be able to find a few.

Don’t even bother.

Slowly the list grows:

Pecan = four sided husks, 11 leaflets.
Black walnut = golfball husks, lotsa leaflets.
Shagbark hickory = crazy shaggy bark, blunt four ridged husks, 5 leaflets of pronounced different sizes.
Mockernut hickory = thick husk, 7 leaflets, blah bark.

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