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Species – Hickory

Species Information - Hickory

Species Information

Hickory is comprised of the genus Carya, which includes nearly 20 species of deciduous trees with compound leaves and big nuts. The flowers of a hickory are small and yellow-green.

Carya is divided into three sections: Sinocarya, Apocarya and Carya. Sinocarya is the newest section, and is characterized by species, which lack terminal bud scales. This pertains to just four members of Apocarya in China. Apocarya contains pecan hickories, while Carya contains what is known as true hickories. An effective way to distinguish between these sections is by comparing the terminal buds. Pecan hickories have bud scales that touch at the edges, but do not overlap. True hickories, on the other hand, have 6 to 12 overlapping or imbricate terminal bud scales.

Species in the true hickory group tend to be slightly denser, harder, and stronger than species in the pecan hickory group.

Hickory is often used in flooring, tool handles, bows, wheel spokes, drumsticks, carts, golf club shafts, lacrosse stick handles, the bottom of skis, boat paddles and baseball bats. It’s also valued for wood-burning stoves, because of the wood’s high energy content.

Hickory is often widely used for smoke-curing meats, particularly in the Southern United States, where the tree grows in abundance.

Scientific Names

True hickories:

Pecan hickories:


Several species of this genus are native to China, Indochina and India, a few are found in Canada and Mexico, while the overwhelming number of species is native to the United States.

Crossover Names

Hickory can be referred as many other names, including, and namely, Pecan.

Janka Rating

The Janka rating for hickory is 1,820, making it harder than other woods such as red oak, African mahogany and American walnut. According to Important Trees of Eastern Forests published by the U.S. Forestry Service, there are some woods that are stronger than hickory, and some that are harder. However, the combination of strength, toughness, stiffness, and hardness in hickory wood isn’t found in any other commercial wood.

Hickory Janka Scale Rating 1,820

*The Janka rating measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Click Here for more info.


The heartwood of hickory is reddish brown, featuring brown stripes. The sapwood is creamy white with pinkish tones and fine brown lines. Some flooring manufacturers have been known to steam hickory lumber to bleed the darker heartwood into the lighter sapwood. This results in a darker, more uniformed, color.

The grain of hickory is fine, frequently wavy with a uniform texture. On quarter sawn surfaces you’ll discover a distinctive flake pattern. You’ll also discover some gum pockets.


Hickory works with very little difficulty, with both hand and power tools. Hickory holds nails well, and has no problem with glues, stains and polishes. Due to its hardness, it can be difficult to sand with flooring equipment.

CLICK HERE to view all of our Hickory hardwood flooring.

Click below for a detailed discription of the different species of hardwood.

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