sweet pecan
Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, once odd-pinnately compound with (5-) 7-13 (-17) leaflets, lateral leaflets commonly falcate; leaves large, up to ca. 20” long
  • FLOWER: imperfect (unisexual), plants monoecious; male flowers in green pendant catkins born at the summit of the previous year’s twig or base of current year’s growth; female flowers in few-flowered stalks terminal on developing shoots of the season; flowering in early spring
  • FRUIT: nut, ellipsoidal, round in cross-section, 1-1.5” long; kernel sweet; sutures of husks winged
  • TWIGS: fairly stout, reddish brown with orange-brown lenticels, pubescent; bud scales valvate, yellow to orange, to ca. 0.5” long
  • BARK: light gray, platy to scaly with age
  • FORM: large tree to 110-140’tall and 3-4’ dbh
  • HABITAT: fertile well-drained alluvial ridges
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: originally south central US, Mississippi River flood plain west to south Texas; now naturalized throughout the southeastern US (note differences between the two range maps below)
    [USGS Range Map]  [US County Range Map]
  • USES: widely cultivated for edible nuts; wood used for furniture, cabinetry, paneling, pallets, veneer
  • WILDLIFE: nuts eaten by numerous bird, important food for squirrels and other mammals
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. large alternate odd-pinnately compound leaves; lateral leaflets often falcate
    2. distinctive light gray scaly/flaky bark
    3. large ellipsoidal nut