For many of us, pecans at Thanksgiving and Christmas are as traditional as turkey and dressing, but as a cultivated fruit it’s a relative newcomer on the scene.
“We don’t know exactly where the first pecan tree was. Some of the folks in Illinois want to claim it as originating there. We think we have got plenty of locations that could be considered the originating spot for pecans.”
Monte Nesbitt is a nut and fruit specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
“Pecan is considered riverine. It tends to be found natively in those types of environments, along rivers and streams. It’s spread that way. It grows in those types of deep soils that we find, alluvial soils we find along rivers.”
Wildlife in those habitats have helped those trees repopulate themselves.
“When we talk about natives we’re talking about those that pre-date, generally pre-date our influence, or are in locations that are not being influenced by us. Now, man has come in and introduced improved pecans, bigger size, better developed kernel.”
Pecans, as a cultivated fruit crop, are still pretty young.
“We take a peach or citrus, those have been studied and cultivated for thousands of years. We’re still in about our second century of really trying to figure out pecans. Even the improved pecans that we have originated as native trees, and so we have just tremendous genetic material to work with.” (10:22)
I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.