Hican – Identification

Q: What is a hican?


A: According to Arty Schronce at the Georgia Department of Agriculture, pecans and hickories are closely related and they can hybridize. Both belong to the genus Carya. The nuts of pecan-hickory hybrids (at least the first-generation hybrids) usually look a little like both parents. They may have long nuts (more like a typical pecan) with shells that are hard (like a hickory). The hybrids between hickories and pecans are called hicans.

Hicans, like all hybrids, may have qualities (good and bad) of both parents. There are several species of hickories; some produce nuts that are not worth gathering and eating. For example, the mockernut hickory has a very thick shell with little meat inside. It “mocks” the more desirable shagbark hickory. The best varieties of hicans combine the good qualities of both parents and are valuable because they can be grown farther north in the United States than regular pecans.

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