This pecan hickory is common throughout Missouri.
Hickory is one of the most common woods in everyday use. It is heavy, hard, strong, and impact resistant. It is the preferred wood for axe, pick, hammer, and hatchet handles. Better grades of hickory are used in furniture and wall paneling.
Early settlers used hickory in the hubs, rims, and spokes of wagon wheels.
Its more savory use, however, is cooking and smoking meats. The smell of barbecue on a warm summer evening is a delight, and hickory wood provides the heat, smoke, and flavor.
There are 17 hickory species worldwide. There are two each in mainland China and Mexico. The other 15 are found in the central hardwood forest of the United States and Canada. Eight species of hickory are found in Missouri.
Hickory nuts are important food source for wildlife. Squirrels, turkeys, and ducks all feed on the nuts.
Pecan hickories and true hickories
Hickories are divided into two major groups: the pecan hickories and the true hickories. True hickories have mostly five to seven leaflets with a large egg-shaped bud at the end of each twig. Pecan hickories have more than seven sickle-shaped leaflets and an elongated, flattened terminal bud.
In Missouri, pecan, bitternut and water hickory are members of the pecan hickory group. Shagbark, shellbark, mockernut, pignut and black hickory are members of the true hickories.