( Carya ovata) Neighbourhood: Thorncliffe, East York Ravine/Park: Leaside Park near the Don River
Height: 23 m (75 feet); diameter: 46 cm (1 foot, 6 inches)
For many Toronto-area nature lovers, a shagbark hickory is a must-see tree. Not just for its striking long, loose strips of curly bark, but also because the Carolinian species is at the northernmost tip of its range in our city, making it an uncommon sight. Davies, who catalogued 10 shagbark hickories in his ravine study, says these trees are especially important in preserving biodiversity in remnant forests. Bats adore them, ecologists have found native birds like to cluster near hickory trees, and some species of butterflies and moths only breed in their shaggy bark. This particular shagbark is growing near three others near the Don River and likely breed together, making it even more critical to protect this small family of trees.