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Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch


Modern name

Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K.Koch


Juglans illinoensis Wangenh.; C. olivaeformis Nutt.; C. pecan (Marsh.) Engl. & Graebn., not (Walt.) Nutt.

Little need be said of this tree, for it is ill adapted to our climate. Many times introduced to Kew, it usually lives only a few years. Young trees will make growths 12 or 15 in. long during the summer, but so badly ripened are they that unless the winter is very mild they are regularly cut back almost to the old wood. This renders them an easy prey to fungoid parasites, usually the ‘coral-spot’ fungus, and makes the species not worth cultivation. It is a native of the south-east and south-central United States, and is the most important of the hickories as a nut-bearing tree. It grows considerably over 100 ft high, and is distinct from all the cultivated species in the large number of leaflets – usually eleven to fifteen on each leaf. These are 2 to 6 in. long (sometimes more), curved like a scimitar, pointed, toothed. Fruits clustered, each 1 to 212 in. long, about half as wide, oblong, pointed; the nut has a sweet-flavoured kernel. Perhaps the first tree in Europe grew in the Botanic Garden at Padua. Planted in 1760 it reached a height of about 100 ft but we are informed by the Curator, Dr Abrami, that it was blown down in 1920.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

There is an example in the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, measuring 66 × 4 ft (1984).



Other species in the genus