The Deschênes Shagbarks

Until a few years ago, these shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), located on the north shore of the Ottawa River just upstream from the Deschênes rapids at 45°23'N 75°49'W, were believed to be the most northerly-climate naturally-reproducing population of their species in the world. They are growing half a zone north of their normal range, and exposed to the full blast of winter winds across the river.

There are 70 mature trunks, the largest 50 cm DBH. 10 trees are double-stem, 1 triple. About ten set seed in 2001. There are many smaller trees around most of them, from seedling size up to 2 m tall. Light green marks trees >40 cm DBH; medium green, 20-40 cm; dark green, 10-20 cm. The soil throughout is gritty sand and gravel so drainage is nearly perfect, but the adjacent river ensures that adequate moisture is always available to tap roots.

The bark of several of the trees most exposed to the river wind has been abraded so much that no shag is left

one of the exposed trees

John Sankey