black hickory
Carya texana

Secondary Names:
Texas hickory

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A medium to large tree, usually 60 to 75 feet tall, with a dark trunk 2 feet in diameter and short, gnarled branches that give the tree a narrow, oval crown of dark green foliage..

Range/Site Description:

From East Texas south and west to the Hill Country and San Antonio, growing on well-drained hillsides and sandy uplands with post and blackjack oaks.


Alternate, once-compound, 8" to 12" long, with 5 to (usually) 7 leaflets; leaflets are 3" to 5" long and 2" wide, dark green and lustrous above, pale yellow-green beneath; undersides of leaves and the petiole have red-brown hairs when young, becoming smooth with age.


Male and female flowers are borne separately on the same tree; the male catkins in groups of three, 2" to 3" long, the female flowers in short clusters at the tips of the branches.


A round nut, 1.25" to 2" long, ovoid or slightly narrowed to a short stalk at the base, enclosed in a thin husk 0.1" to 0.2" thick that splits to the middle or nearly to the base. The hard shell is slightly four-angled and holds the sweet-seeded nut.


Dark gray to black, with tight, irregular, blocky ridges and deep furrows on older trunks.


Used chiefly for fuelwood, especially for cooking fires.

Similar Species:

Mockernut hickory (Carya alba) has 7 to 9 leaflets and a wooly leaf rachis and leaf undersides; shagbark hickory (C. ovata) has gray, peeling bark.

Interesting Facts:

The hickory with the westernmost native range, except for pecan.

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