Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carya myristiciformis (Michx. f.) Nutt.
- Family: Walnut (Juglandaceae)
- Flowering: April
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of the nutmeg hickory are its yellow, ovoid buds, its
5-9 leaflets that are minutely scaly on the lower surface, and its ellipsoid fruit up to 1 3/4 inches
- Habitat: Swamps, river banks.
- Habit: Tree up to 90 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 2 feet; crown rather narrow.
- Bark: Dark brown but reddish tinged, eventually breaking up into thin, appressed scales.
- Twigs: Dark red-brown, scaly at first, becoming smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, with 5, 7, or 9 leaflets; leaflets lanceolate to ovate to
obovate, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, finely toothed, smooth and dark green on the
upper surface, smooth or hairy or silvery-white on the lower surface, up to 10 inches long, up
to nearly 2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately but on the same plant, appearing after the
leaves have begun to unfold; male flowers in slender, drooping spikes; female flowers in clusters
- Sepals: 4, minute.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3-10.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; styles usually 4.
- Fruits: Ellipsoid to obovoid, up to 1 3/4 inches long; husk very thin, covered with a yellow
scurfiness, with 4 ridges running from the top to the base; nut dark red-brown, mottled with gray.
- Notes: The kernels of the nuts are sweet.
Previous Species -- Sweet Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra)
Return to Species List -- Group 5
Next Species -- Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)