What is a Pecan?
A pecan is a tree, a type of plant.
What Does It Look Like?
The pecan tree has a short, straight trunk with a wide, rounded crown. Its bark color is red-brown. Its leaves are compound, made of from nine to 19 leaflets, and the leaves are arranged alternately on the branches. The leaflets have double-toothed edges. The buds are pointed at the tip, hairy and have yellow dots.
How Big is It?
This tree may grow to 120 feet tall and have a diameter of three feet.
Where Does It Live?
The pecan grows in bottomland woodlands in all but the northeastern one-fourth of Illinois.
How Does It Reproduce?
Flowers are produced in April and May. Male and female flowers are separate but on the same tree. Flowers appear when the leaves are partly grown. The fruits are ellipsoid, up to two inches long and one inch wide. The nut is pointed at the tip. It is red-brown with black marks and has a thin shell.
What Does It Eat?
As a plant, this organism does not eat. It makes its own food.
Does Anything Eat It?
The nut has a sweet taste and provides food to squirrels, raccoons (Procyon lotor), Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana), mice, pecan weevils (Curculio caryae), stinkbugs, American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) and other animals, including humans!
What Else Should I Know About the Pecan?
- The nut of the pecan is highly valued for eating both by itself and in cooking.
- The wood of this tree is used to make furniture, lumber, tool handles, cabinets, flooring and other products.