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Northern Pecan

Carya illinoinensis

Family: Juglandaceae (joo-glan-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carya (KAIR-yuh) (Info)
Species: illinoinensis (il-ih-no-in-EN-sis) (Info)
Synonym:Carya illinoensis
Synonym:Carya pecan
Synonym:Hicoria pecan


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (yellow-green)


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama

New Market, Alabama

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Huntington, Arkansas

Bostonia, California

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Kissimmee, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Lisle, Illinois

Tunnel Hill, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Benton, Kentucky

Vacherie, Louisiana

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Lincoln, Nebraska

Roswell, New Mexico

Saint Paris, Ohio

Ada, Oklahoma

Altus, Oklahoma

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Burns, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Boerne, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Cypress, Texas

Irving, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Red Oak, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Spicewood, Texas

Universal City, Texas

Waverly, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 9, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I found two really good, old, big specimens in a residential yard in southern Delaware a few years ago and took their photos and put them in these files. Morton Arboretum in Lisle, west of Chicago, Illinois, has two good mature specimens in their Midwest Collection. I remember seeing lots of pecan groves in southern Alabama when driving to northwest Florida in the 1960's. Pecan Hickory grows about 8 to 12"/year and lives about 300 years. The leaves are 12 to 20 inches long with 9 to 17 narrow leaflets. The thin-shelled, 4-ribbed husks are oblong with the big sweet nut inside.


On Nov 4, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Look like pecan could be moderately hardy to zone 4a - there are several speciments at the Minnesota Arboretum - you have to walk a bit as they are toward the back section of the nut collection - I don't see serious diebacks on them.


On Mar 16, 2007, Gregirv from Waverly, VA wrote:

Pecans grow quickly in my southern Virginia. They are planted in groves and orchards. They are strong trees and gave us no problems other than hurricane problems. We planted three 1 foot tall seeddlings in 1980 and they zoomed to over a hundred feet in 8 years, but provided thick trunks, strong wood and plentiful nuts.


On May 2, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Here in Central Florida, pecan trees grow weakly. They don't get quite as much winter chill as they should. They are a beautiful, very large tree so if you have a small yard this is not the tree for you.


On Jan 19, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have about 15 of these trees in my yard.One is over a hundred years old.They are beautiful trees that provide lots of shade.They are not problem free however.They will shed lots of limbs and sticks after storms(however I dont mind picking them up).Make sure to avoid injuries to the tree,pecans grow slowly which means they heal slowly.Also,if you live near the coast,plant them far away from the house,there large canopys make them easily uprooted by hurricanes.


On Nov 26, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have nothing but good things to say about the pecan tree.
We have two volunteer native trees that are beautiful, 30 and 20 years old. The 20 year old is just starting to bear fruit and the other one has been producing for about 10 years. The squirrels have a great time stealing the nuts and planting them all over the place, which gives us a lot of seedlings to pot and give to friends. However we don't get to pick many pecans from our trees, since the squirrels love them so much.
We do have neighbors who have cultivar pecan trees and they share with us because they they don't like to pick them, so we pick shell them and give some to them after they have been cleaned.
Carya Illinoiensis is native to Texas and other States.


On Apr 16, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A great shade tree if grown away from patios and driveways as the nuts can cause a terrible mess as they drop and the leaf stems are messy in the fall.


On May 29, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Pecan trees can reach heights of 70 feet and live to 100 or more years, so pick your site carefully. They make great shade trees and the nuts they produce are incredibly tasty, especially the native variety. The natives are harder to crack than paper shell varieties, but worth it in my opinion. They really don't produce flowers, but green "catkins" about three inches long in early spring. The nuts are mature by fall, in time for Thanksgiving pecan pies.

Drawbacks: The natives do self-seed prolifically ~ I am forever pulling seedlings up out of my flowerbeds under the trees. If the catkins aren't swept off of concrete patios when they drop in spring, they will stain it.