Kew Gardens in London covers 300 acres (120 hectares), and it’s home to a huge number of tree species. This tree caught my eye because it was just shimmering with golden leaves in the sun.
What I didn’t do was catch the name of the tree. Name tags are usually pinned to the trunk, or sometimes hanging from a branch.
So I emailed Kew and told them where I had seen the tree. I said that the leaf arrangement looked somewhat like a Horse chestnut or a Buckeye, which are Aesculus species.
The answer came back that it is in the walnut family (Juglandaceae) and they identified it as Carya laciniosa, which has a similar leaf arrangement to Horse chestnuts.
According to Wikipedia, it’s an American native, with a range that extends from the Great Lakes south to about the latitude of Washington D.C. And it has many names – shagbark hickory, bigleaf shagbark hickory, kingnut, big shellbark, bottom shellbark, thick shellbark, or western shellbark.
Some of the photos of the bark online make it clear which it is called a shagbark, with great vertical strips hanging off. No idea why it is also called a shellbark, though.