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Richard C. Schlesinger
Shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) is also called shagbark hickory, bigleaf shagbark hickory, kingnut, big shellbark, bottom shellbark, thick shellbark, and western shellbark, attesting to some of its characteristics. It is a slow-growing long-lived tree, hard to transplant because of its long taproot, and subject to insect damage. The nuts, largest of all hickory nuts, are sweet and edible. Wildlife and people harvest most of them; those remaining produce seedling trees readily. The wood is hard, heavy, strong, and very flexible, making it a favored wood for tool handles. A specimen tree has been reported in Missouri with 117 cm (46.2 in) in d.b.h., 36.9 m (121 ft) tall, and a spread of 22.6 m (74 ft).