Pecan - Carya illinoinensis
Walnut Family (Juglandaceae)
Pecan only grows native in the western part of Kentucky on the rich soils along the Mississippi and Green rivers. The nut is commercially important and grown on plantations in southern states. Pecan trees can grow very tall. The Kentucky champion tree is in Trigg County and is 100 feet tall.
- Native habitat: Native to the midwest with its northern limit in Iowa. It grows south into Mexico.
- Growth habit: The tree produces an open, spreading crown.
- Tree size: Trees commonly reach 100 feet tall and can reach 150 feet tall.
- Flower and fruit: Male flowers are catkins; female flowers lack petals and are formed in spikes. The fruit is a nut with a four chambered covering.
- Leaf: Leaves are compound having approximately 12 leaflets with fine teeth along the margin. Fall color is bright yellow.
- Hardiness: Winter hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Pecans are grown commercially in southern states and is the most important nut species native to the USA. In most locations in Kentucky, fruit production is low because the fruits do not mature before winter.
The National champion trees is Texas and is over 118 feet tall. The Kentucky champion tree is in Trigg County and is 100 feet tall.