As a tree service company in Austin, we are passionate about any and all kinds of trees. One of the most interesting trees is the pecan tree.
Mmmm, pecans. You know why they’re so delicious, right? It’s because they are fresh and local! The pecan tree is the Texas state tree!
Though they are not quite in season at the moment, they can still be found around local shops in a variety of treats and meals. They begin to drop in September through as late as December. That’s why pecans make a great Thanksgiving staple!
But what about the tree itself? Pecan trees require spots with drainage and do well in sandy soil. They are obviously found in Texas but also in Mexico, Mississippi, Oklahoma and a few other states. The U.S. is so welcoming to the growth of the pecan tree that we produce 80% of the world’s pecans (source). Not bad! You can bet that number wouldn’t be quite so high if it wasn’t for Texas.
Pecan trees grow into vase-like shapes during development. It has large limbs and a round top. The leaves on a pecan tree will be yellow-green right now in the summertime but will change to fully yellow in the fall. The bark on this tree will be gray or light brown. The pecan nuts that grow on it will be brown and have seams that can be cracked open for the fruit inside.
There are as many as 500 different hybrids of pecan trees in existence (source). Many things make up the different species of a pecan tree but they are mainly how the chemistry of the resulting pecan nut is (like amount of oil and shell size) and how many pecans the tree can produce. These trees come in all sizes so that also depends on what species of pecan it is.
The word “pecan” comes from the Algonquin language. Algonquin is from the Objibwe people. It roughly translates into “hard-shelled nut.” Dictionary.com even has the first definition of “pecan” as referencing the tree itself, not the nut. That’s why it’s grammatically correct to refer to these trees as pecans and you may hear people in Texas do so.
Nut VS Drupe
Pecans are not even technically a nut! They are considered a “drupe.” A drupe is a type of fruit that can have dehiscence. Dehiscence, as described by Princeton’s WordNet directory, is:
“…the natural bursting open at maturity of a fruit or other reproductive body to release seeds or spores or the bursting open of a surgically closed wound).”
If you have pecan trees, here is a step-by-step guide on how you can harvest your own pecans (when the time comes). We wish you luck – that can be a very fun and rewarding process.
What Do You Think?
Are pecan trees your favorite tree or do you have a different pick? Let us know on our happening Facebook page! It’s frequently updated with some really cool tree facts and amazing tree photography. And, as always, if you need tree removal or anything done for your Austin trees, get in touch with Brents! Our number is 512.310.8789 .
Author: Will Brents