Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shagbark Hickory

I spent Easter Sunday (which seems to have been the only sunny day we've had in ages) at Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

New Canaan soil, and the surrounding areas, seems to have the magic recipe for attracting shagbark hickories (Carya ovata). I never seem them in Dutchess County, or even further west in Connecticut, but they seem to flourish in this area (and many other areas, I am sure).

I pointed one out to my traveling companion on the train heading to New Canaan. I said, 'Isn't that just fantastic bark?' He immediately volleyed back, with utmost seriousness, 'It is. It really is.' I was excited to see that he got what I was talking about, then I look over at him and realized he was being sarcastic. Ah well.

Even if you didn't like the aesthetic qualities of this bark, you probably would enjoy its culinary gifts. Hickory bark is often used for grilling and smoking meats and can also be used to make a sweet syrup, similar to maple syrup. The nuts, though borne in small qualities, are also tasty.

Carya is the Greek name for walnut (and indeed Carya is in the Juglandaceae, or walnut, family). Carya was the daughter of the king of Laconia and was turned into a walnut street (it's a long story).

Oh, in case you're interested, here's a shot of the house itself.

It is pretty beautiful and you are wowed by the site and the technical undertaking. The size of the glass panels along inspire a bit of awe, not to mention the massive steel I-beams that frame the building.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
good site from VA TECH.

Alternate, pinnately leaf with 5 to 9 in a group????