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kernel large, sweet and excellent. One of the most common and popular of the indigenous edible nuts, collected in large quantities as they ripen in autumn, for home use and for sale, as the demand for this excellent nut is almost unlimited. A large tree, fifty to eighty feet high, and stem one to three feet in diameter, with a shaggy or scaly bark, which on old trees may be readily pulled off in long, shell-like plates. Timber well known as valuable for many purposes. This species has a very wide range, or from Maine to Florida in the Eastern States, and westward to Minnesota, thence southward through eastern Kansas, Missouri, Indian Territory and eastern Texas.
Although Clayton, as with most of the earlier botanists, fails to give any description of the foliage of the hickories he mentions, and all have the affix alba (white), yet his reference to the form of the nut and the scaly bark of the tree is sufficient to enable us to identify the species as that of our common shellbark hickory of the Atlantic States, which extends through the regions where he gathered his botanical specimens.
BIG SHELLBARK, THICK OR WESTERN SHELLBARK, ETC. (Hicoria laciniosa. Michaux). Leaflets seven to nine, obovate-oblong, finely serrate, roughish-dowuy or pubescent beneath. Buds large, composed of rather
loose grayish scales ; the young twigs stout, with a gray bark, most noticeable in winter. Fruit large, oval to oblong, usually four-ribbed above the middle, with de
pressions between; husk thick, somewhat spongy, shrinking at maturiiy, and splitting open from op downward. Nut large, with prominent ridges, and strongly pointed, but slightly compressed at the sides, as seen in Fig. 47; shell thick and of a dull yellowish color; kernel moderately large, as shown across section of nut in Fig. 48, but much smaller in pro
portion to the size of the nut FIG. 47. WESTERN SHELLBARK. than in the two preceding species, but it is sweet, well flavored, and easily removed from the shell when cracked. The very large size of these nuts makes them a favorite, especially where the pecan and the true shellbarks are not plentiful. These nuts were formerly known as the Springfield or Gloucester nut. A very large tree, sixty to eignty feet high, and two to four feet in diameter, with thick, scaly bark, the scales somewhat thicker than in tne common shellbark hickory of the Atlantic States. A rare tree, except in the valleys west of the Alleghanies, FIG. 48. SECTION WESTalthough it is reported to have ERN SHELLBARK. been found in Chester county, Pennsylvania, and thence west to southern Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, eastern Kansas, and the Indian Territory. Plentiful in the
21 (1824), he does not so hat he was
bottom lands along the Ohio, Mississippi and lower Missouri. Elliott, in “Botany of South Carolina and Georgia” (1824), says it is rare in the low country of Carolina, but he does not say that it is found plentiful anywhere in the South. That he was sometimes in doubt in regard to the identification of this and other species may be inferred from his remark, namely: “The greater part of our hickories resemble each other so closely in their leaves and vary so much in their fruit that it is very difficult to discriminate the species.”
It is this difficulty of identification which has led to so much confusion in the application of the specific names, for the earlier botanists rarely had an opportunity of a close and careful examination of the trees or other plants which they attempted to describe. In relation to the species under consideration, we find that the specific name of sulcata, so long in use, was adopted by Nuttall, from some earlier or contemporaneous author,
-a system he followed with all the different species of the hickory, but without, in some instances, any discrimination or regard to their adaptation or validity. If there was anything to show that Willdenow (1796) had this Western shellbark in mind, or that he or his correspondents in this country had ever seen or collected it, then we might adopt the name of sulcata as the original and true one; but in the absence of such information, with a full and accurate description of the species and its habitats by Michaux, under the name of laciniosa, I think, in common justice to one of the most eminent dendrologists who ever visited this country, the name given should stand as the true one for this species. See Michaux, “North American Sylva," Vol. I, p. 128.
it, thespondents in shell to show adaptati
The three preceding species are probably the only ones worthy of propagation for their fruit, or that have and are likely to yield varieties of any considerable economic value; but as it is important that the nut culturist should know the materials he is using, and whether they be of the best or otherwise, I shall admit all the species, without regard to their merits or value for cultivation.
MOCKER NUT, BULL NUT, BIG-BUD HICKORY, KING NUT, WHITE-HEART HICKORY, ETC. (Hicoria tomentosa. Michaux).-Leaflets mostly seven, occasionally nine, large, oblong-obovate, rather long pointed, slightly serrate, smooth on both sides while young, becoming roughish downy underneath when fully developed in summer; leafstalks and vatkins also somewhat downy. Fruit medium to very large, round or ovoid, with a very thick woody husk, which splits nearly or quite down to the base, but usually falling with the enclosed nut entire, or bursting open as they strike the ground. Nut very thick shelled, smooth, or strongly four to six angled, white at first, but becoming a dull brown when exposed to the light. The kernel is sweet, but so small and firmly imbedded in the thick shell that it is only to be removed in minute sections, but this is successfully accomplished by the squirrels, who often throw down the entire crop from large trees before the shells harden, and then pack them away in the ground, in old logs, and under the leaves, where they will not dry for some weeks or months later. An exceedingly variable species, especially in the size and form of the nuts; on some trees they are scarcely an inch in diameter, while on others they are nearly or quite two inches, but always with such a thick, hard shell as to be nearly worthless for their meats. The largest of these nuts I have ever seen grow in central and western New York, where they are called “King” or “Bull” nuts.