Native to Asia and North America, Hickories and Pecans have been used for food, wood, and fuel since people have been around to use them. These trees have been developed for larger and sweeter nuts, and the Pecans have had the most development so far.
- The name “Hickory” comes from the Algonquian Indian (Native American people group) word pawcohiccora, meaning the nut from the Hickory tree.
- Pecan and Hickory Nuts are not technically nuts… they are considered “drupes” or even “tryma”. A drupe is a fruit with a single seed inside. So the “nut” of these plants have a soft fruit that dries and splits to reveal the seed… what we call the nut. A true nut is a fruit which forms a hard shell to cover the seed, and this hard shell (the fruit) does not split open on its own. Confused yet? It may be easiest to call it a nut!
- “Papershell Pecans” are pecans that have such thin shells that the shell can be cracked by just squeezing together two nuts in your hand… some are so thin, that the shells can be cracked by just squuezing one nut between two fingers. However, these nuts are much more prone to cracking on the tree when the nut swells during heavy rains.
- Pecans have nuts
- Shagbark Hickory have nuts about 1.5 inches (4 cm) long
- Shellbark Hickory have nuts about 2.5 inches (6 cm) long
- The Hican is a cross between a Pecan (C. illinoinensis) and another Hickory species (Carya species)… so in reality, there are a wide variety of trees appropriately named Hican. Most hybrids have poor nuts, but the named Hicans typically produce very large and tasty nuts; although, they usually produce less nuts than either of its parents.