The hardy pecan, Carya illinoinensis, is a giant deciduous lowland tree in the hickory family. With a large rounded crown, it typically grows 75-100 feet tall. When mature, trunks measure between 2-4' in diameter. Native to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama, this species is mostly found along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. There are 9-17 pointed leaflets on each leaf of pecan, each being a medium green, odd-pinnate compound. The leaflets range in length from 2 to 7 inches. In the summer, leaves mature to yellow-green; in the fall, they turn yellow-brown.
Flowers are non-showy, monoecious, and greenish yellow in April-May. Male flowers are in drooping catkins, while female flowers appear in short spikes. The female flowers produce sweet, edible nuts. When the nuts are ripe in the fall, they split into four sections. American pecans are one of the most important commercial nut crops. Commercial pecan plantings are primarily found in the South, from North Carolina to Florida to Arizona and California. Various cultivars are available.
It grows best in humusy, rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Due to its deep taproot, it is difficult to transplant. To achieve the best cross-pollination, plant two different varieties of growing nuts. The northern parts of its growing range can be sparsely populated with nuts, especially when spring comes late, and summer is cool. It may be grown from seed, but a young tree usually does not bear nuts for 8-10 years.Height: 75’-100’
Light: Full Sun
Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Origin: Iowa and Indiana south to Texas and Mexico