Our native sunflower is one of my favorite flowers. It comprises the genus Helianthus, which…
Squirrel stashes pignuts in my garden shed –
I know of a squirrel that has been quite busy lately.
A few days ago I opened my garden shed and discovered a pile of pignuts.
The pointed mound measured almost two feet high in the center. A lot of pignuts.
The yellow pignut looks a great deal like a walnut. The large pile shocked me at first.
I thought to myself, “How could this amount of nuts accumulate in this one spot?”
I presented the issue to the Master Gardeners at our monthly meeting a couple of days later. As if in unison, they all agreed that it had to be a squirrel.
Carya glabra Tree
Pignuts come from the Carya glabra or hickory tree.
The 1900 edition of Liberty H. Bailey’s Cyclopedia of Horticulture described the value of the wood from this tree.
It said, “Most of the species [of Carya] have hard strong and tough wood, much valued for many purposes, especially for handles of tools, manufacture of carriages and wagons, also making baskets and for fuel.”
University of Georgia horticulturist Michael Dirr also gives a bit of history to the tree in his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. He writes, “It is native from Maine to Ontario, south to Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Introduced 1750.”
Here in New England it is considered a hardy native ornamental tree.
Nineteenth century Rochester, New York seed company owner James Vick (1818-1882) mentioned the Carya in his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly. In 1880 he wrote that the nut, “On account of its delicate flavor and excellent keeping qualities, is the most highly prized of our native nuts.”
Bailey too discussed the nut.
The COF said, “The species of some varieties of C. glabra are edible, and are sold in large quantities; mostly gathered from the woods though in later years orchards of improved varieties have been planted.”
Somewhere out there, scurrying around, is one industrious squirrel who has been quite busy carting these edible pignuts off to my garden shed.
Unfortunately he will have to find a new storage spot since I have sealed up the opening in the shed’s foundation.