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Hickory and Hicans

The hickories and pecans (Carya spp. ) are part of the Juglandaceae or walnut family. They are exclusively native to North America. While it is unlikely the pecan has any potential for nut production in Ireland, the hickory shows some promise. Mature trees can be found growing in some of Ireland's botanical gardens. There are about ten different hickory species, of which the Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) has shown the greatest potential for nut production. They will do best on dry warm sites.

Hicans (Carya illinoensis x ovata ) are a hybrid between the pican (Carya illinoensis ) and the Shagbark Hickory (Carya Ovata ). They combine the flavour of the pican and hardiness of the hickory. Hicans occur naturally in the wild in the eastern United states where both pecans and hickory occupy the same forests. Many distinct cultivars have been developed by growers, some of which have succeeded as far north as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec provinces in Canada. Hicans are almost completely unknown in Europe. Although untested in Irish conditions, they have the potential to do well on warm dry sites.

The hickory and hican trees offered are not grown from nut but are propagated vegetively by grafting fruiting scions of known cultivars onto seedling pecan rootstocks.

Unlike trees raised from nut, which are unreliable in terms of nut production and quality, and take many years to reach nut bearing age, grafted trees always come true to form and begin cropping at a young age. In order to facilitate pollination, it is advisable to plant more than one cultivar. Hickories and hicans are mutually pollinating.

Hickories and hicans grow into big trees so should be spaced at 10-12 meters.

Young grafted trees supplied at 45-70cm, 70-100cm and 100-140cm sizes


Shellbark Hickory

Yoder. Produces large nut with excellent flavour. Nuts easily cracked.


Burton. The most well-known of the hicans. High quality nut with excellent flavour

Wescheke. Sometimes mistakenly listed as a hickory, Wescheke's distinctive pecan-shaped leaves confirm its parentage. It produces a medium sized nut of good flavour

Supply of trees

Trees not available 2020/21

Barerooted trees
  Unit Price (euro)
1 tree 2 trees 3-9 trees 10-49 trees 50-199 trees 200 trees+
Hickory/Hican named varieties 45-70cm
Hickory/Hican named varieties 70-100cm
Hickory/Hican named varieties 100-140cm



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