Pecan (Fr. pacanier), a species of hickory (Carya olivaeformis), abundant in the southwestern states, and extending along rivers as far north as Illinois, but not known except in cultivation in the Atlantic states. Its botanical characters are similar to those in other species of the genus (see Hickory), but the leaflets are more distinctly stalked, and its sterile catkins are fasicled and form buds near the summit of the shoots of the preceding year, instead of being as in the other hickories upon a common peduncle from the base of the shoot of the season; the fruit is oblong with a thin husk; the nut olive-shaped, from an inch to an inch and a half long, with four slight angles, yellowish brown, often with blackish lines; the shell very thin, containing an oily seed, which is sweet and edible, and by many persons preferred to any other nut. The tree is about 60 or 70 ft. high in the forests, but there is one at the Bartram estate near Philadelphia over 90 ft.; the trunk is straight and well shaped, yielding a wood which, though coarsegrained, is heavy and durable. It appears to be long in coming into bearing, trees in France when 30 years old and 30 ft. high having borne no fruit; old trees in the forest bear abundantly.

No one seems to have followed Michaux's suggestion to graft this upon the common (English) walnut to promote its growth and fruitfulness. As with the shell-bark hickory, individual trees may be found which produce nuts much larger and with thinner shells than the average; these should be selected for propagation. The home traffic in the nuts is considerable, and large quantities are shipped to Europe, where they are expressed to obtain their oil; in productive years the small port of Indianola, Texas, before the war exported as many as 100,000 bushels.

Pecan (Carya olivseformis). Fruit and Leaf reduced, and Nut of nearly natural size.

Pecan (Carya olivseformis). Fruit and Leaf reduced, and Nut of nearly natural size.