Salem Maritime National Historic Site
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  • Shagbark Hickory

    Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)


    Producer: an organism that produces its own "food" by converting energy from the sun into chemical energy; the first link in the food chain.

    Photosynthesis: Carbon dioxide + water are converted by light energy into glucose (sugar) + oxygen

    Audio Transcript

    Take a moment to check out the trees. At first glance, they might all look the same. Tall trunks, spreading branches, leafy foliage. Looking a little bit closer, we’ll realize that they’re actually all pretty unique- the way that their branches spread out, the texture of their bark, and even the types of leaves, fruits, and nuts that they all produce.

    Take for example the shagbark hickory for example. It’s got long shaggy plates of bark that seem to peel away from the rest of the trunk. As you might be able to guess, that’s where the shagbark hickory gets its name.

    One thing all our trees do have in common is that they’re all producers. As producers, plants can take light energy from the sun and through photosynthesis convert it into glucose sugars. They can then use those sugars to develop their own structural components as they grow larger, or put it into the fruits that they make. In either case, plants, as producers, are at the base of the food chain, starting the process of feeding all the other organisms in the ecosystem.

    The hickory, for example, produces hickory nuts, which are a really important food source for local wildlife species.