Mockernut (Carya tomentosa)

C. alba. non Nutt. Juglans tomentosa.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Carya tomentosa

A black dye is obtained by boiling the bark in a vinegar solution[229].

A beige dye is extracted from the leaves and twigs, cream of tartar is required as a mordant[226].

A yellow dye is obtained from the bark when alum is used as a mordant[226].

The inner bark has been used to finish baskets and to make chair bottoms[257].

The leaves have been scattered about to repel insects[257].

Wood – close-grained, tough, elastic, very heavy, hard[61, 82, 227, 229]. It weighs 51lb per cubic foot[227]. The wood has excellent bending qualities and can withstand compression better than most other woods[229]. One of the best hickory woods, it is an important commercial timber and is used for vehicle parts, tool handles, fuel etc[61, 63, 82, 227, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    The inner bark is astringent and detergent[257]. It has been used as a dressing for cuts and has also been chewed to treat sore mouths[257].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[1, 43, 101, 159]. A delicious sweet taste but the thick, hard shell makes extraction very difficult[2, 183, 226]. The kernel is quite small considering the size of the nut[226]. Even squirrels leave the seed to accumulate under trees[117, 183]. The seed can be up to 6cm long[229]. The seed ripens in late autumn and, when stored in its shell in a cool place, will keep for at least 6 months[K].

    Sap – used as a drink. Tapped in spring, it has a sweet flavour[101].

  • 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]. Succeeds in poor soils[63] and in drier soils than many other members of the genus[200]. Generally a slow growing tree[200] though it is fast when young[149]. Trees respond well to coppicing[149]. A very ornamental and long-lived tree[1, 227], it is quite successful in Britain[137] and has been planted on an experimental scale for its timber in Germany[50]. 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 in the wild commence fruiting when about 20 years old, with an optimum seed bearing age from 40 – 150 years, though they often live for 300 – 500 years[229]. Trees are self-fertile but larger crops of better quality seeds are produced if cross-pollination takes place[229]. 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)[137], but lose their leaves later in the autumn than other Carya species229]. 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].
Eastern N. America – Massachusetts to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas.

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.