Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Common Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
- Family: Walnut (Juglandaceae)
- Flowering: April-May.
- Field Marks: Pecan is distinguished by its pinnately compound leaves with 9-19 leaflets and its elongated nuts with sweet kernels.
- Habitat: Bottomland forests, along rivers.
- Habit: Tree up to 150 feet tall, with a rounded and widely spreading crown.
- Bark: Red-brown, becoming roughened into small scales.
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, with 9-19 leaflets; the leaflets lanceolate, curved, tapering to a long point at the tip, rounded or tapering to the asymmetrical base, finely toothed, smooth or sometimes hairy, up to 8 inches long, up to 3 inches broad.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately but on the same tree; the male flowers in long, drooping spikes; the female flowers fewer and in small clusters.
- Sepals: 4, minute.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 8-40.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: Ellipsoid, pointed at the tip, up to 2 inches broad; the husk narrowly 4-winged, dark brown with yellow scales, thin, usually splitting to the base; the nut red-brown; the kernel sweet.
- Notes: The kernels are extremely tasty.
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