Pecan Trees – History

Q: We saw a television program that mentioned the first pecan tree planted in Georgia. Being from South Georgia, I thought pecans were native to this area.

A: Pecan, Carya illinoinensis, is native to North America, specifically the Midwest. Native Americans enjoyed the nut and used it for trade with Europeans. The scientific name was given by Friedrich Wangenheim, a Hessian soldier who studied the flora of North America in his leisure time during the American Revolution. Georgia is the top pecan producing state in the U.S.. The 2009 crop was worth more than $170 million to our farmers.