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Sunday, January 1, 2012

SHAGBARK HICKORY TREE PROVIDES BANQUET FOR WILDLIFE

SHAGBARK HICKORY TREE NEAR AN OLD COUNTRY CHURCH

A few weeks ago, I was meandering around a piece of property where an old country church stood  but was now abandoned. I had been to this property before and thought I could capture some better photos of the church than I had taken previously. 

As I wandered about, snapping photos, I nearly bumped into a tree. The tree that I had almost bumped into was a majestic Shagbark hickory tree that was back-lite by a dark blue clear sky. Its shaggy appearance was humorous yet appealing and its height and girth told me it was middle aged to elderly, appearing quite healthy. 


SHAGBARK HICKORY NUT HUSKS CRACKED OPEN 
ON THE GROUND BY THE TRUNK OF THE SHAGBARK TREE

I instinctively looked down at the ground to search for hickory nuts that I knew would have dropped  from the tree around  this time -- providing a rich food source for wildlife.  

There appeared to have been a banquet on the ground around the base of the tree. Nut husks were cracked open in fragments, fragments that once contained white nut meats. It was evident that some wild critters had certainly enriched their diets. It could have been any of the wildlife that can be found in the area such as Gray squirrels, Eastern chipmunks, White Footed mice, or wild turkeys -- all known to devour Shagbark nuts. 

Missing from the Shagbark hickory banquet were  bears that love the nuts as well as the native American population that used the nuts in their diet. 

This very Shagbark could be almost 200 years old as they are known to live that long. If it is, that means that it actually could  have had in its early life a few bears and native Americans feasting on its bounty. Perhaps these former area residents did visit this tree at one time. If only this tree could tell us its story.

RESOURCE:


Hilton Pond, Center for Piedmont Natural History





18 comments:

  1. You have taken a great photo of this majestic tree. I love finding nut trees and d looking for nuts, although they are hard to find at this time of year. We have an old walnut out back and the squirrels have hidden all the nuts away. I will find them again next year when they sprout as trees in my garden. Dianne

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  2. What a neat photo of a wonderful tree! I've never heard of a Shagbark Hickory, but its name is certainly fitting. I often notice interesting tree bark on my wanderings - the old Cottonwoods around here have some of the most intriguing.

    It's a marvel all that incredible, valuable things trees provide and do for us, wildlife and the environment, from furnishing shelter, shade and bountiful food to inspiring poetry and worship to adding beauty and color to our world with their flowers, fruits and leaves to preventing erosion, providing oxygen and absorbing CO2. I shake my head at people that use the term "treehugger" as a snide insult. Why on earth wouldn't we feel compelled to hug trees? It's the least we can do! :-)

    Happy New Year, Barbara!

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  3. I love your closing sentiment -- the trees would prolly tell a different version of history!!!!

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  4. Kay -- I'm sure they would tell an interesting story, Will have to catch up on your posts. I have missed so many of the great blogs that people write. Blogging is a world of information and social interaction -- I have learned so much from others. Will check in later. -- barbara

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  5. Laloofah -- Trees are us. We are made of the same organic mix. We are all one big family -- all of the living world including rocks etc. I like your feelings on trees. I agree with you -- they sure do provide life giving treasures each and every second.Today I did a video on the howling wind through our trees. The wind was sure blustery.I likened it to Neoga, the Iroquois goddess of the winds blowing through.
    I love your new home. You have it furnished beautifully. Thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  6. Dianne -- Yes, the animals sure like to gather the nuts and sequester them away only for some to grow roots and become lovely trees again. Mother Nature at work. But sometimes they sprout in the wrong spot! Thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  7. What a wonderful way to look at things! It's fun to imagine all the different critters and folks munching on the nuts throughout the ages. I've never seen a hickory tree before, but I gather that's where hickory smoke comes from.

    Happy New Year to you Barbara!

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  8. A great shot of that old tree and I have no doubt that the wildlife had a feast.

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  9. Rose -- I would imagine if the product was natural hickory smoke I would say it came from the burning of hickory wood. There are a few different types of hickories but I imagine any could be used for smoking. Hickories are native to the US. The best to you in 2012. -- barbara

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  10. Farmchick -- You probably have a couple of these on your farm. It seems I find them on property that was settled long ago. The nuts are tasty for humans too -- that is if they can get the husks open. Best to you in 2012.

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  11. I too have wondered the stories old trees could tell. The scaly bark hickory displays the character of its age.

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  12. Love to know the story of the tree, in its own 'words'.

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  13. Grampy -- Thanks for the comment. Sounds like you are very knowledgeable about hickories. A late New Years wish for a good year in 2012. -- barbara

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  14. I have enjoyed my troll here........ thank you for your kind comments too!

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  15. John -- So nice that you left a comment on your stroll through Folkways Notebook. -- barbara

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  16. Birdman - Yes, that tree would have so much to tell us in its own words. We can only guess what it would be. thanks -- barbara

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  17. Shagbarks are such personable trees -- straight our of Narnia or Middle Earth!

    All good wishes to you, Barbara, for 2012!

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  18. Yes, they are so distinctive. Thanks for the nice comment -- its off into the new year -- barbara

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