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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pecan Tree

As a Northeasterner, I am always fascinated with pecan trees (Carya illinoinsis) when I visit S. Texas at Christmastime.  Although difficult to clean, I can't resist harvesting the nuts and toting them back to the house.  On this day, I employed my daughter's help while I wandered the area with my camera.  Just a note: This year, the bag of pecans remained unshelled throughout my visit and I'm sure became compost after I left!


A member of the Hickory family, and the largest and most familiar in the south, the pecan tree is a stately, almost imposing figure in the rich open lowlands.  Deciduous, the Pecan Tree can grow to 130 feet in height,  and can live, bearing nuts, for up to 300 years.  Homeowners commonly plant the pecan tree to use for shade in their landscaping.


According to Sibley's new Guide to Trees, it is one of the last trees to leaf out in the spring, and the leaves stay green into late fall, and is monoecious.   As you can surmise by its massive size, a single tree can produce more than 1,000 pounds of nuts in one season.  It's wide spreading branches invite various visitors, including this ladder-backed woodpecker!


Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats, and like the walnut, are rich in Omega 6 - fatty acids.  They are featured in many traditional, sweet, southern desserts, such as pecan pie.

The word pecan  is from an Algonquian word meaning a 'nut requiring a stone to crack'.  The early settlers found these native trees growing in a large region from the Mississippi Valley to central Texas and to this day, they continue to be valuable sources for cultivars.   Aside from nut production, pecan trees provide furniture-grade wood. 

12 comments:

Carrie P. said...

We had a pecan tree when we lived in Florida. Do you know if they will grow in North Carolina? I would really like to have a few when we move out to our land.
I checked out the link you sent about the owls and we do have barred owls. They make such funny noises.

KaHolly said...

Carrie, thanks for the visit. I e-mailed you with information! ~karen

ramblingwoods said...

Karen..thank you for visiting my battling bullfrog post. I always write posts so that I can remember the info. :D..When I hit the quote at the top of the page, I stopped as I have used this quote at the top of my blog also...and I also found a link to western NY animals which I didn't know existed and I see some of the time of our local naturalists. I added you to my reader as I really enjoy the people who find the same degree of pleasure in nature as I do... Michelle

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

I love pecans - thanks for such an informative post. They really are such an attractive tree.

Leora said...

Fresh nuts - I've never had that pleasure. What a delight to have pecans available from nature.

walk2write said...

I'm fascinated by pecan trees too. It's not uncommon to see them here festooned this time of year with mistletoe, something that hides when the leaves appear. Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving a comment. Isn't Michelle's blog a great place to gather for a visit?

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: A blog friend of mine sent me some pecans. They are really tasty.

Carver said...

Interesting post. I have a large pecan tree and the only problem I have is some years it starts forming leaves too early and then a hard frost will totally zap the leaves. However, the good news is they start over again and then I do get leaves.

louisebah said...

ahh, pecan pie!! brings me back to my texas years!!

had my first pecan pie fall '83!

great pictures!

Natural Moments said...

You are making me hungry. They must be a lot of fun to harvest. We love to go out in the summer and fall and harvest the fruit and the nuts that Nature provides. Makes one feel more alive and grateful for what we have around us.

Marvin said...

Once you've mastered the art of shelling Texas pecans, try your hand at shelling hickory nuts or black walnuts for a real challenge.

Jeanie said...

Love pecans! And I love the pictures of the trees silhouetted against the sky~