Family: Juglandaceae, walnut family
Genus, species: Carya ovata
Leaves are pinnately compound. Each leaf has 5 leaflets. Leaflets are ovate-shaped with saw-toothed edges. End leaflets are usually much larger than other leaflets (in comparison to Bitternut Hickory with leaflets all about the same size).
Bark is very shaggy, peels off in long vertical strips.
Separate male and female flowers on same tree (monoecious). Flowers are very small and greenish, wind-pollinated. Flowers are produced in early spring before leaves.
Nuts are egg-shaped, enclosed in thick yellowish husk. Shagbark Hickory nuts are larger and rounder and have thicker husks than Bitternut Hickory nuts.
Carya is from the Greek for "walnut." In Greek mythology, Carya was a daughter of King Dion. The Greek God, Dionysus, fell in love with Carya, but her two sisters guarded Carya and kept her away from Dionysus. As punishment, Dionysus transformed Carya into a walnut tree.
The species name ovata is from the Latin for "oval" or "egg-shaped."