Hickory nuts, hickory smoked meats, hickory firewood, the phrase from the school song "Talk to the tune of the hickory stick-this is one of our most versatile trees. It is also one of our most interesting ornamentals because of the characteristic light gray bark on the very tall trunk. The bark separates into long (sometimes as long as four feet) narrow curved strips like shingles. These remain loosely attached at their middle in the tree. The wood is tough and hard and is used for tool handles and baseball bats. The nuts are delicious but are well protected by hard four-ribbed shells. President Andrew Jackson was called "Old Hickory" because he was as tough and hard as the hickory.