Herb: Pecan

Latin name: Carya illinoinensis

Synonyms: Carya illinoensis, Carya oliviformis, Carya pecan, Hicoria pecan, Juglans illinoensis, Juglans pecan

Family: Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)

Medicinal use of Pecan:

The bark and leaves are astringent. A decoction of the bark has been used to treat TB. The pulverized leaves have been rubbed on the skin to treat ringworm.

Description of the plant:


50 m
(164 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Rich moist soils of bottomlands, especially along the sides of streams.

Edible parts of Pecan:

Seed - raw or cooked. Sweet and delicious, they make an excellent dessert and are also often added to ice cream, used in cakes, bread etc. A milk can be made from the seed and is used to thicken soups, season corn cakes, hominy etc. The seed is up to 4cm long and is produced in clusters of 3 -11. The seed ripens in late autumn and, when stored in its shell in a cool place, will keep for at least 6 months. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The leaves are said to be used as a tea.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - coarse-grained, hard, heavy, brittle, not strong. It weighs 45 lb. per cubic foot. It is not as valuable a timber as other members of this genus and is used mainly for fuel and occasionally to make wagons and agricultural implements.

Propagation of Pecan:

Seed - requires a period of cold stratification. It is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be kept moist (but not wet) prior to sowing and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible. Where possible, sow 1 or 2 seeds only in each deep pot and thin to the best seedling. If you need to transplant the seedlings, then do this as soon as they are large enough to handle, once more using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Put the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in their first summer, and give them some protection from the cold for at least the first winter. Seed can also be sown in situ so long as protection is given from mice etc and the seed is given some protection from cold (a plastic bottle with the top and bottom removed and a wire mesh top fitted to keep the mice out is ideal)

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich moist soils of bottomlands, especially along the sides of streams.

Known hazards of Carya illinoinensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.