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Image of a shellbark hickory bark
Carya laciniosa

This is the largest of the true hickories and has the best-tasting hickory nuts in Missouri. Compared to shagbark hickory, it has larger leaves and more leaflets, plus large nuts and orange twigs.

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Bitternut Hickory
Carya cordiformis

Of the several hickories in Missouri, bitternut hickory is the only one with long, bright yellow buds. Its common name refers to the bitter taste of the nut—but the flavor doesn't put off squirrels, mice and deer!

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Carya texana

This tree is also called the Ozark pignut hickory. Its nut, like that of the pignut hickory (Carya glabra), has a tough husk that is doggone hard to crack. Because rural Ozarkers noticed their rooting hogs had no trouble extracting the sweet kernels, both species came to be called "pignut hickories."

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water hickory
Carya aquatica

Water hickory grows on ground that is often under water during part of the year. The bitter nuts are consumed by ducks and other wildlife.

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Image of a shagbark hickory leaf
Carya ovata

Many Missouri trees are quite useful, and shagbark hickory is a great example. Its wood makes excellent, slow-burning charcoal, its nuts are edible and its wood is used for many implements. Wildlife from moths to squirrels to bats appreciate shagbarks, too!

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pignut hickory
Carya glabra

A rugged hickory of dry upland forests in the eastern Ozarks, the pignut has pear-shaped fruits with thin husks. Settlers were unimpressed with the nuts’ flavor and fed them to their hogs!

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Image of a mockernut hickory tree
Carya tomentosa

Missouri is rich with hickory trees. This hickory stands out from the rest for its hard wood, thick-shelled fruit enclosing relatively small kernels, large and light-colored terminal buds and tight, never shaggy, bark.

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pecan tree
Carya illinoinensis

One of Missouri’s favorite nut trees is the pecan, which is a type of hickory—and hickories are in the walnut family! Originally pecan had a fairly limited, southern distribution, but today it is found in and out of cultivation nearly statewide, owing to the popularity of the nuts.

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Photo of a Luna Moth
Actias luna

This beautiful moth’s distinctive lime-green color and long tails distinguish it from all other North American moths.

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Image of a gray squirrel
Eastern Gray (Sciurus carolinensis) Fox (Sciurus niger)

Among the members of the squirrel family living in Missouri, the eastern gray and fox squirrels are the most common. Their common names are descriptive of the general coat color-the grayish of one, and the "reddish fox" coloration of the other.

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