Water Hickory (Carya aquatica)

Juglans aquatica.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Water Hickory
Carya aquatica

Wood – heavy and close grained but soft and brittle, which limits its use[229, 235]. It weighs 46lb per cubic foot and is used mainly in fencing and as a fuel, where it yields considerably more heat than most woods[229, 235].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked. Astringent[177]. The seed is up to 35mm long, it is produced in clusters of 3 – 4 and has a thin shell, but the kernel is very bitter[11, 82, 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].

  • 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]. A slow growing tree[200], it does not begin bearing seed until more than 20 years old[229]. 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]. 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]. Trees are self-fertile but larger crops of better quality seeds are produced if cross-pollination takes place[229].
South-eastern N. America – Florida to Texas, north to Illinois.

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.