Pecan trees are famous for the nuts they create, which were a staple of the Native American diet long before white settlers came to North America. Pecan trees are part of the hickory family and one of the largest of all trees that produce nuts.
The pecan tree is a deciduous tree that is native to the Mississippi Valley from south of the Great Lakes into portions of Texas and Northern Mexico. It thrives in the rich soil of river floodplains and often occurs in stands of many pecan trees together.
Pecan trees are easily the largest of the hickory trees, with some known to grow as tall as 140 feet. They are massive trees, with some trunks having a 6-foot diameter.
The pecan has compound leaves as long as 20 inches. The stem of the leaf contains anywhere from nine and 17 separate leaflets growing opposite one another, with a single leaflet at the end of the stem.
The nut of the pecan is a reddish-brown color and splits open when ripe. The husk is thin. A pecan nut can be as long as 2 1/2 inches.
The wood of the pecan tree makes excellent lumber, and people utilize it in such things as furniture, paneling and flooring. Craftspeople also use pecan wood to make hammer handles and agricultural tools.
- The Pecan Tree: University of Florida
- Quick Pecan Facts: Oklahoma State University
- Field Guide to Trees of North America; C. Frank Brockman; 1986
pecan tree, compound leaves, hammer handles, nut trees
About this Author
John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.