Chinese Hickory (Carya cathayensis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Hickory
Carya cathayensis
Juglandaceae

Wood – hard, tough, elastic. Used for tool handles etc[46, 61, 109]. A very good fuel, burning well and giving off a lot of heat.

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[46, 61, 105, 109]. Rich in oil[266]. it has a sweet flavour and is highly esteemed by the Chinese[137]. The seed ripens in late autumn and, when stored in its shell in a cool place, will keep for at least 6 months[K].

    An edible oil from the seed is used in cooking[109].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – requires a period of cold stratification. It is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[78]. Stored seed should be kept moist (but not wet) prior to sowing and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible[78]. Where possible, sow 1 or 2 seeds only in each deep pot and thin to the best seedling. If you need to transplant the seedlings, then do this as soon as they are large enough to handle, once more using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Put the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in their first summer, and give them some protection from the cold for at least the first winter[78, K]. Seed can also be sown in situ so long as protection is given from mice etc and the seed is given some protection from cold[200] (a plastic bottle with the top and bottom removed and a wire mesh top fitted to keep the mice out is ideal)
Prefers a deep moisture-retentive loam in a sunny sheltered position, requiring a good summer for best development[1, 63, 137, 200]. Slow growing[200]. Dislikes wind exposure[109]. Plants are intolerant of much frost[109]. Another report says that plants succeeds in climatic zone 6, which suggests that they should tolerate temperatures down to about -15 and -20¡c[200]. Cultivated for fod in China[266], the edible seed is often sold in local markets in China[137]. Plants are strongly tap-rooted and should be planted in their permanent positions as soon as possible[1, 137]. Sowing in situ would be the best method so long as the seed could be protected from mice[1, 200]. Trees are late coming into leaf (usually late May to June) and lose their leaves early in the autumn (usually in October)[137]. During this time they cast a heavy shade. These factors combine to make the trees eminently suitable for a mixed woodland planting with shrubs and other trees beneath them[137]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Most species in this genus have quite a wide range of distribution and, in order to find trees more suited to this country, seed from the most appropriate provenances should be sought[137]. Most trees growing in Britain at present tend to only produce good seed after hot summers[137]. Trees are self-fertile but larger crops of better quality seeds are produced if cross-pollination takes place[229].
E. Asia – E. China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.