Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours, repeat process daily for 4 days
Stratification: cold stratify for 120 days
Germination: sow 1-2" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Black Hickory, also known as Buckley's Hickory, Red Hickory, and Texas Hickory, is a small deciduous tree that can reach up to 40 feet in rich bottomlands and 30 feet tall in shallow, rocky soils. It is native to the United States, specifically the southern Great Plains and the Lower Mississippi Valley. The leaves of Black Hickory are pinnately compound and usually consist of 5-7 leaflets, although sometimes there may be 5 or 9 leaflets. The tree produces small brown buds and slightly four-winged nuts that are 2.5-3 cm in diameter.
The wood of Black Hickory is close-grained, tough, strong, and brittle. It weighs 50lb per cubic foot and is mainly used for fuel as it burns well and produces a lot of heat. However, this species is endangered in southwestern Indiana.
Black Hickory is a slow-growing tree that can reach heights of up to 41 meters (135 ft). The leaves are usually coated with scales, giving them a rusty brown color. The fruits (nuts) are bronze to reddish brown and have sweet and edible seeds.
This tree is genetically a 64-chromosome species that readily hybridizes with tetraploid C. tomentosa and may also hybridize with other species.
Black Hickory typically grows in well-drained sandy soils on rolling hills and rocky hillsides. It can occasionally be found in low flat lands and marl soils. Its range extends from southern Indiana to Texas and Louisiana, with its most common occurrence being west of the Mississippi River. In Illinois, it is present in sand forests, dry ridges, and cliffs along the Mississippi, Illinois, and Wabash rivers, mainly in the southern and western parts of the state.
One interesting fact about Black Hickory is that it belongs to the group of hickories, along with pecans and shagbarks. This tree is similar to pignut hickory in terms of its closed bark and small buds. Despite its stunted growth in dry, nutrient-poor habitats, Black Hickory has resilient wood.
Black Hickory wood is heavy, elastic, and hard. It is used for various purposes such as fence posts, skis, tool handles, gunstocks, and was formerly used for barrel hoops. The nuts are consumed by swine, squirrels, opossums, and wild turkeys. Native Americans in Illinois used to eat the nuts of several hickory species.
Overall, Black Hickory is a valuable and endangered tree species in the United States, known for its unique characteristics and wood properties.