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Wood Species: Hickory-Pecan

Scientific Name: Carya illinoensis

Trade Name: Hickory Pecan

Family Name: Juglandaceae

Common Names: Pecan tree, Hickory tree, Sweet pecan, Illinois nut, Soft-shelled hickory

Regions of Distribution: South- Central North America, Eastern to Midwestern United States

Countries of Distribution: Canada, United States, Mexico


Color: Heartwood is reddish brown with darker colored stripes. and sapwood is creamy white with pinkish brown lines.

Grain: Slightly wavy with an irregular texture which may give the appearance of being rough grained.

Variations within species and grades: Often confused with ash. Also, moderate to high differentiations are quite common in color between spring and summer woods. Hickory -pecan is considered as one grade usually mixed by flooring mills.


Hardness/Janka: 1820 (50% harder than Northern red oak)

Dimensional Stability: Average (3 % less stable than Northern red oak)

Origin: United States of America

Availability: Readily available

Average and Maximum Lifespan: 300 years


Sawing/Machining: Gives some resistance to sawing due to its strength.

Sanding: Difficult to sand. Has a tendency to show sander marks if proper method is not followed.

Nailing: Can be difficult. Screwing is preferable.

Finishing: Maybe difficult to stain.

Common Uses: Handles for hand-held tools- hammers, axes, picks, hatchets, paneling, cabinetry, furniture and veneer, baseball bats, walking canes, picker sticks, sporting goods, wheel spokes, Hickory carts, Hickory drumsticks, golf club shafts, smoked meats, and hardwood flooring. It is a great choice for any product that needs wood that is strong and resistant to damage, wear and tear.

Detailed Description

Plant habit and lifestyle: Plants Angiosperms, monoecious, 20–40 m tall

Stems: Moderately stout and pale brown in color, fuzzy (particularly when young); leaf scars large and three lobed. Twigs tan to reddish brown, thin, hairy, quite scaly, sometimes becoming glabrous. Bark light brownish-gray and shaggy. Thin fissures divide the bark into scaly, interlacing ridges.

Buds: Terminal buds yellowish brown to brown in color, scaly and hairy. Shape oblong, 6-12 mm; bud scales valvate; axillary buds protected by bracteoles fused into hood.

Leaves: Alternately arranged, deciduous, pinnately compound with leaflets (7-)9-13(-17), lateral petiolules 0-7 mm, terminal petiolules 5-25 mm; blades ovate-lanceolate, often falcate, 2-16 × 1-7 cm. Single or double serrated leaf margins without tufts of hairs, apex acuminate; surfaces abaxially hairy or with scattered unicellular and 2-rayed fasciculate hairs, scaly with large peltate scales and small round peltate scales, adaxially without hairs or rarely hairy with unicellular hairs along midrib, and with scattered 2-6-rayed fasciculate hairs. Leaf midribs are off-center, giving the leaflets a sickle shape.

Flowers: Flowering takes place from April through May. Wind pollinated. Flowers staminate and pistillate. Both on the same tree. Staminate flowers appear in slender fascicled, sessile catkins, 8 - 15 cm (3 - 6 in) long. Pistillate catkins are hairy, yellow, and not as many as staminate ones, with two to four stigmas The calix is two- or three-lobed, with a center lobe that is longer than the lateral ones, and five or six stamens.

Fruits: Nuts about 1 2.6–6 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, elliptical or pear-shaped. Fruit maturation 1-3 years

Habitat: Rich, moist, well-drained soils, often in river bottomlands. Needs a humid climate and rich loamy soil.

Special Diagnostic Characteristics: Fruits are enclosed in husks developed from the floral involucre. Husk is thin, dark brown about 1/4" thick. Flowers are yellowish in color. Pointed tips and leaf bases of leaflets are often unequally rounded or wedge-shaped. Leaf upper surface dark, yellowish-green in color. Leaf lower surface pale.