Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Carya tomentosa Nutt.

Fully hardy tree with pinnate leaves with up to 9 oblong leaflets, nearly round, edible nuts.  To 28m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Hicoria alba is distributed from southern Ontario southward to Cape Canaveral and the shores of Tampa Bay in Florida, and westward to Missouri, eastern Kansas and the Indian Territory, and the valley of the Brazos River in Texas. Comparatively rare at the north, where it grows on ridges and hillsides in rich soil, or less frequently on the alluvial of river-bottoms, Hicoria alba is the commonest and most generally distributed of the Hickory-trees in the south, and grows to its largest size in the basin of the lower Ohio River and in Missouri and Arkansas. It is the only Hickory found in the Pine forests of the sandy maritime Pine-belt of the southern states, where it is not rare, and with the Pignut it grows in great abundance on low sandy hummocks close to the shores of bays and estuaries along the coast of the south Atlantic and Gulf states.

The wood of Hicoria alba is heavy, very hard, strong, tough, close-grained, and flexible, with many thin obscure medullary rays and numerous large regularly distributed open ducts. It is a rich dark brown, with thick nearly white sapwood. The specific gravity of the absolutely dry wood is 0.8218, a cubic foot weighing 51.21 pounds. Confounded commercially with the wood of the Shell-bark Hickories, it is used for the same purposes.

The abundance of this species on the shores of Virginia and the other southern states probably made it known to Europeans earlier than any of the other Hickories, and it was first described by Parkinson in his Theatrum Botanicum, published in 1640.’ [Sargent – The Silva of North America vol.7, p.162, tab.CCCL/1895].

The nuts are similar to Pecans.  Selected varieties will crop further north than the true Pecan, Carya olivaeformis Nutt.  Introduced to Britain in 1629.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.603/1845].  Probably grown from a large consignment of tree seeds sent from North America to William Macarthur at Camden by his his brother Edward.  A mature specimen survives in the Old Orchard, now part of the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute.  This may well be the original planting.


Published Mar 19, 2009 - 03:34 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2010 - 03:23 PM

Figured are pinnate leaves, catkins and detail of flowers.  Silva of North America vol.7, tab.CCCL, 1895.

Carya tomentosa Nutt. | The Silva of North America vol.7, tab.CCCL/1895 | BHL

Family Juglandaceae
Region of origin

Eastern North America

  • Carya alba Britton & Stern et Pogg
  • Juglans alba L.
  • Juglans rubra Gaertn.
  • Juglans tomentosa Poir.
  • Hicoria alba Britton
  • Hicorius albus Sargent
  • Hicoria maxima Rafin.
Common Name

Big Bud Hickory, Mockernut

Name in the Camden Park Record

Juglans alba - Hickery Nut

Confidence level high