Carya illinoinensis (alternate spelling, C. illinoensis) Juglandaceae
Pecan KA-ri-a il-in-oyn-EN-sis
- Deciduous tree, often low branched, straight trunk, may grow to 70-100 ft (20-30 m) or more; the largest of the hickories. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound (odd), 9-17 leaflets, each short stalked, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long, 2.5-7.5 cm wide, usually sickle-shaped (falcate), long pointed, base unequal and rounded or wedge-sphaped (cuneate), margin serrate or double serrate, glandular and tomentose when young, becoming glabrous (without hairs); leaf petiole glabrous or pubescent. Male (staminate) flowers in slender catkins 7.5-12 cm long, light yellow-green; female (pistillate) flowers in spikes, flowers oblong, narrowed at the ends, slightly 4-angled and coated with a scrufy pubescence. Fruit pointed at the apex, rounded at the narrow base, 4-winged and angled, 2.5-6 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide, dark brown or covered with yellow scales, in clusters of 3-11; the nut is ovoid to ellipsoid, 2.5-5 cm long, nearly cylindrical or slightly 4-angled at the tip, bright reddish brown, kernal sweet.
- Sun, best in deep, moist, well-drained soil. Difficult to transplant becaue of a very long tap root.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 Native range extends from southeastern Iowa, southern Illinois to Indiana and south to Alabama, Texas and Mexico. Many cultivars have been devoloped for the commercial peacan industry which is located in the southern U.S., especially in Georgia (the top producer), Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Louisiana.
- illinoinensis: of Illinois, southern Illinois is in its native range.