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Any of about 18 species of deciduous timber and nut-producing trees that make up the genus Carya, in the walnut family. About 15 species are native to eastern North America and 3 to eastern Asia. The fruit is an egg-shaped nut enclosed in a fleshy husk. Some speciesprincipally shagbark hickory (C. ovata), shellbark hickory (C. laciniosa), mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa), and pecanproduce large, sweet-tasting, edible nuts. The pecan, the most valuable species economically, is cultivated for its flavourful nuts and its light-coloured wood. The wood of other hickories is used as fuel and for tool handles, sports equipment, furniture, and flooring.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hickory, visit Britannica.com.