A Pecan Tree Wasn’t There! (Brazil, French Morocco, Togo)


Some weeks ago I wrote about a Horse Chestnut tree I admired. And in the last few weeks another tree caught my eye.

This summer my wife and I have been buying fruits and vegetables from a farm. It’s the “last farm back,” as the handmade signs nailed to trees on the potholed road indicate. There I was drawn to a large tree with an abundance of small nuts. I asked the farm woman what kind of tree it was. “Pecan.” I was amazed. We’re in Maryland. I think of Pecan Trees (Carya illinoinensis) as being southern, as in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia. Yet here it is.

I thought this discovery would make an interesting post—a followup to the Horse Chestnut story. I looked for images of Pecan Trees on stamps, assuming an easy search since trees are a common stamp topic. “No Pecan Tree!”

I did learn that Pecan Trees are native only to the southern U.S. and Mexico. That limited range likely accounts for “No Pecan Tree” stamps. The Pecan is, however, the state tree of Texas (an interesting story), and a difficult tree to propagate. They’re slow to grow and bear nuts, which can have differing characteristics from differing trees, so grafting from mature trees is an obvious strategy for propagation. This grafting was first accomplished in about 1846 by a slave, Antoine, at the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana.

And did you know the pecan isn’t a nut? It’s a member of the hickory genus and is a drupe, a fruit with a single pit surrounded by a husk.

Searching for Pecan Trees on stamps, a few others (trees and stamps) intrigued me. A French Moroccan stamp (above) featured a goat herder. And is that goat attempting to climb a tree in the background? This photograph (Wikimedia) would seem to confirm that possibility.

A  leaf-and-nut-shaped stamp from Brazil (left) honors the Cashew Tree of Pirangi, which entered the Guinness Book of World Records 1994. That single tree covers a mere two acres!

And then there was the comforting scene of a teacher and students planting trees in Togo (below). I commend them.

So, a Pecan Tree wasn’t there (on stamps), but unexpectedly there is one near me, though without any nesting goats—at least none that I’ve seen.

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