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CARYA illinoinensis

Image of Carya illinoinensis

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Juglandaceae

Botanical Name

CARYA illinoinensis

Plant Common Name

Papershell Pecan, Pecan

General Description

Though primarily known for its sweet pecans, this large deciduous tree from eastern and southern North America and Mexico also has ornamental virtues. It is a tall, beautiful tree with attractive compound leaves, a tall straight trunk and furrowed, gray-brown to brown-black bark. Many cultivars have been selected for flavor, hardiness, earliness of ripening, and other characteristics.

Trees generally take from 15 to 20-years before they are fruit-bearing. Harvest takes place very late in the fall season, and the larger the tree the more prolific its nut production. Pecans have smooth, woody, oblong shells that are sandy brown in color. When cracked they bear oblong, ribbed nutmeats that are sweet and flavorful. These taste best when lightly toasted.

Pecan is a bottomland tree and likes full to part sun and moist, rich, slightly acidic soil with average drainage. Transplanting can be difficult because of its long taproot. Plant both an early-pollen (type 1) and a late-pollen (type 2) cultivar for highest yield. Use as a crop or shade tree.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    70'-100' / 21.3m - 30.5m

  • Width

    40'-75' / 12.2m - 22.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Green

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No