Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are deciduous and large. Pecan trees generally grow to heights of between 66 and 130 feet. Their spread typically ranges from between 40 and 75 feet. The trees bear pecans, which are edible, oblong nuts that are deep brown in color. Pecans are technically not nuts, but rather drupe fruits. There are various different common uses for pecan trees. Most commonly, pecans are consumed as nuts and used as ingredients in many dessert meals. However, the tree also is frequently used for ornamental purposes, or for the production of wood.
Pecan trees are large and tall trees that are ideal for providing either privacy or shade to spaces. Pecan trees make suitable skyline trees. They are commonly used in residential yards to provide privacy from the eyes of neighbors and passersby that are in the area. Due to their attractive appearance, pecan trees are also frequently seen as ornamental trees.
The nuts produced by pecan trees are edible. Pecans are known for their buttery and distinct taste and can be consumed fresh and alone, or used in cooking or baking. Pecans are commonly used to make sweet dessert foods, such as pecan pie, classic Southern food. Other common pecan desserts include pecan puffs, pecan cookies and chocolate caramel pecan cheesecake. The nuts are also used to produce praline candies, which are particularly common in Louisiana. Pecans are also very nutritious, and are classified as a complete protein. They consist of large amounts of 18 different essential amino acids. Pecans are rich in phosphorous, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamin, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are also a reliable source of energy. However, pecans are also high in fat.
Some species of pecan trees are useful for the production of wood, such as the bitternut pecan tree. These rapid-growing, deciduous trees are notable for their close-grained, deep brown wood that is very shock-resistant, making it ideal for tools. The wood also works well as fuel wood. Wood from pecan trees is also often used for the production of skis, furniture, ladder rungs and flooring material for skating rinks and gymnasiums.
Pecan shells can be used to make a flour or powder for artists producing molds. The flour is useful as a lightweight variety of filler for urethanes. The flour is brown in color, and is comprised of small particles. Pecan shell flour can make resins appear thicker, lighter and easier to sand. It can also make resins appear much more like wood. One particularly common use for pecan shell flour is making epoxy resin thicker during the production of fillets or wood filling.