The pecan tree is a species of hickory and grows in many states across America. Its name is an Algonquian name meaning ‘nut requiring a stone to crack’.
This perennial deciduous tree can grow up to about 180 feet in a tall upright position. Its dark bark is rough and scaly with leaves growing in bunches of about 11 to 17.
The Pecan tree has gone through many adaptations, which have resulted in its ability to survive in dry, wet, moderate, and hot conditions. It is however not able to tolerate too much of the cold.
The fact that it is a deciduous tree is one of its main modifications because this means that it sheds its leaves during winter. This allows the tree to enter a sort of hibernation stage where the entire internal processes of the plant slow down.
This adaptation ensures that the tree does not release too much energy in the process of photosynthesis (the amount of leaves are less), and takes in just enough nutrients to survive the winter.
During drought season, the internal mechanisms of the tree slow down to meet the reduced nutrients entering its system. During this time, it uses the energy and nutrients it has stored in its branches and trunk.
During periods of drought, nut production in the tree is naturally reduced. Sometimes in extreme drought conditions, the tree does not produce any nuts, conserving that energy to keep itself alive.
If insects or drought damages the tree, it sheds its leaves early and does not produce a nut crop. This allows it to conserve its energy.
It is such a versatile and resilient plant that it can even survive in wet/moist soil. They do not develop root rot and other diseases that might kill them because they have learned to live in a variety of environments.
Another weather condition it can withstand without any problem is strong winds. Its crown of leaves allows wind to pass through freely (which is also how the tree is pollinated) so that no damage is done to it.
Some species of the Pecan, such as the Southern Pecan has a very thin bark, which allows it to withstand fires.
Its nut has a very lightweight shell. Once it falls from the tree, this shell can float long distances without being damaged and sprout in a place far from its mother tree.