Hickory , (carya, Nuttall), the common name of several species of timber trees, with large compound leaves, having from 5 to 15, but usually not more than 11 leaflets. The hickories belong to the natural order of juglan-daceoe, which comprise but two other genera besides this and the walnuts. The flowers of the hickory are of two kinds: sterile, which are borne in compound catkins, each principal catkin having two opposite branches, the stamens from four to eight in each flower; and fertile, which are solitary or else in small groups at the ends of the branches. The fruit is a large roundish nut, the husk of which opens partially or wholly of itself by four seams. The genus carya is exclusively American, and is distinguished from juglans, the walnuts, by several characters, the most noticeable of which is the splitting of the husk; this in the walnut dries up on the nut. There are nine or ten species, all of them remarkable for stateliness and general beauty. In the autumnal scenery the foliage of the hickories contributes a pleasing share, each species possessing its own peculiar hues and tints.
As an ornamental tree the hickory can be recommended, but on ac-count of the difficulty of transplanting it is seldom planted; it is best to plant the nuts where the trees are to stand, in spring, they having been kept buried all winter; two or three nuts are planted near together, and if all grow, all but one are removed. The hickory seldom survives when taken from the woods, as its roots are large, few in number, and easily killed. Attempts to graft the hickory are rarely successful; it has been accomplished by setting the graft just below the surface of the ground; the French nurserymen are said to succeed by herbaceous grafting, i. e., the scion and stock are both of unripe wood. On account of the density and tenacity of the wood of the hickories, it has a wide application in the arts, and its uses are too many to enumerate; that furnished by the different species is so much alike that it is difficult to distinguish them; it is liable to the attacks of insects, and decays rapidly when exposed. As a fuel it excels all other northern woods; it makes a hard charcoal, and the ashes are very rich in potash. The fruit of the species vary much in size and form, and it is often impossible to distinguish them by one character alone.
The bitter-nut hickory (C. amara, Nutt.) is the most graceful and remarkable for its finely cut foliage. It raises a noble columnar top to the height of 60 or 70 ft., enlarging upward, and broadest at 40 or 50. Its recent shoots are of an orange green, smooth and dotted with orange. Its fruit, however, is intensely bitter. It is the least valuable species. The pig-nut hickory (C. porcina, Nutt.) is also a large tree, with a close bark and very tough and valuable wood; its sprouts are used as withes; the wood is preferred by many artisans to that of any other species; it is especially useful for axe helves and wagon axles. Its fruit is variable in size and form, and is abundant, but of a disagreeable taste. The small-fruited hickory (C. mi-crocarpa, Nutt.) grows in the moist woodlands of New York and southward, and its trunk rises to the height of GO or 80 ft.; its fruit is small, but eatable. The mocker-nut hickory (C. tomentosa, Nutt.) is a fine stately tree of slow growth, with an erect trunk, forming at the summit a graceful pyramidal head of a few moderate-sized branches. The large round buds readily distinguish it from the next species. It is sometimes called white-heart hickory, although the wood in the old trees does not differ in color from that of the other kinds.
The nut varies greatly in the thickness of the shell and in form; one variety is called the square nut; the kernel is sweet, but is very difficult to extract, a fact which is supposed to have given the name mocker-nut.
1. Pig Nut.
2. Bitter Nut.
Hickory. - 1. Shell Bark. 2. Mockernut.
Mockernut (Carya tomentosa).
The variety maxima (Nutt.) bears "fruit as large as an apple," with a very thick husk. The shell-bark or shag-bark hickory (C. alba, Nutt.) is easily distinguishable by its shaggy bark, its excellent fruit, and its rather small, ovate leaf buds. The shag-bark is a stately tree, rising to about GO to 80 ft. Its branches are irregular and scattered; but when growing singly in open space, the tree attains much beauty and gracefulness. The delicious flavor of its fruit is not surpassed by any foreign nut. The nuts vary greatly; some individual trees have nuts with astonishingly thin shells, and were it not for the difficulty of grafting these might be propagated. Large quantities of the nuts, brought from districts where the species grows best, are readily disposed of in the markets. In the woods of Pennsylvania and westward to Illinois and Kentucky, the western shell-bark hickory (C. sulcata, Nutt.) is found, having nuts twice as large as the preceding, with a strong point at each end; the kernel is sweet, but of inferior flavor to that.
The pecan hickory (C. olivoeformis, Nutt.) is a more western and southern species. (See Pecan.) The nutmeg-fruited hickory (C. myristicoefor-mis, Nutt.) is a rare and local species found in South Carolina, the fruit of which is very small, smooth, and brown, streaked with white, and strongly resembling a nutmeg; the kernel is of small size and little value.
Hickory , a S. W. county of Missouri, intersected by the Pomme de Terre river, a tributary of the Osage; area, 408 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 6,452, of whom 90 were colored. It has a moderately uneven surface, covered in some places by a good growth of timber, and a rich soil. The chief productions in 1870 were 43,-696 bushels of wheat, 271,582 of Indian corn, 65,573 of oats, 16,715 of potatoes, 42,164 lbs. of tobacco, 105,040 of butter, and 3,292 tons of hay. There were 3,543 horses, 2,569 milch cows, 5,387 other cattle, 8,280 sheep, and 11,-970 swine. Capital, Hermitage.