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Video:How to Identify Trees in the Pecan Family

with Adrienne Basey

Pecan Trees are known for their delicious nuts, but did you know that there are different types of nuts depending on the Pecan tree? In this About.com video, learn how to identify Pecan Trees, and their distinguishing characteristics.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Identify Trees in the Pecan Family

Hello I'm Adrienne for About.com, and today I'll be talking about the Pecan tree and its distinguishing characteristics. 

Carya illinoinensis, more commonly known as the Pecan, is member of the Juglandaceae or walnut family which contains over 60 species.  

Overview of the Pecan Tree

A type of hickory, this tree is native to  North and Central America; and its name 'Pecan' comes from the french word 'Paccane' derived from an Algonquian word, meaning hard nut. The Pecan tree has an average adult size ranging from 60 to 130 feet in height, sometimes reaching over 180 feet , and has an average spread of 40-50 feet in diameter and a 3 to 6 feet trunk diameter. 

Pecan Tree Leaves

Some of the most identifiable characteristics of the tree are: Leaves. Pecan leaves are compound. There are 11-16 leaflets which have toothed edges and pointed tips. Each leaflet has an average length of 5 inches and 3 inches in width. 

The Bark of a Pecan Tree

Its Bark is grey to light brown in color that becomes rough and heavily furrowed as the tree ages. 

Pecan Nuts

The pecan nut is about 2 inches long, has an oval or round shape with a pointed tip, a thin brown husk, and is segmented internally in 4 sections. These features are among the most important to determine the classification within this species. Pecan tree varieties like Curtis, Elliot, or Sumner differ from one another in their size, shape and consistency of their nuts, as well as the region and conditions in which they are cultivated. An interesting fact about the Pecan trees is that the Pecan nuts aren't actually nuts, as is the case in other hickories it is a kind of fruit with a single pit covered by a husk.

The pecan tree is the state tree of Texas, and the Pecan industry in the United States generates over 130 million dollars per year. 

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