Shag­bark hick­ory

Toronto Star - - INSIGHT -

( 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.

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