New Mexico is home to a few species of hickory trees, hardy deciduous trees that produce edible nuts.
The arid climate of New Mexico provides suitable growing conditions for certain hickory varieties that also thrive in neighboring regions of the southern United States and Mexico.
The most common hickory trees found in New Mexico are:
- Pecan and Mexican hickory trees are the two main species found in New Mexico.
- Pecan hickory produces large, sweet nuts and prefers growing near rivers and streams.
- Mexican hickory produces small, sweet nuts and thrives in drier areas.
- Both trees have gray bark that changes texture with age, and long narrow leaves with serrated edges.
- Other less common hickory species may also grow in certain New Mexico habitats.
- Hickory trees provide food, habitat, wood products, and ecosystem services in New Mexico.
- Protecting native hickory trees is important for maintaining natural ecosystems in the state.
1. Pecan Hickory
The pecan hickory is common across the southern states and Mexico.
It has gray bark that starts off smooth but becomes coarser and scaly as the tree ages.
Pecan hickory leaves are long and narrow with serrated edges.
This species produces large, sweet pecan nuts that are popular for eating and baking.
Pecan hickories prefer growing near rivers and streams in New Mexico.
2. Mexican Hickory
The Mexican hickory is native to Mexico and the American Southwest, including New Mexico.
Like the pecan hickory, it has gray bark that changes texture as it matures. The leaves are slender with toothed edges.
The Mexican hickory produces small, sweet edible nuts. This variety of hickory thrives in drier areas of New Mexico.
Other Hickory Species
While pecan and Mexican are the most widespread hickory trees in New Mexico, there may be other hickory species present but less common in the state.
Botanical surveys would need to be conducted to confirm any additional hickory tree varieties growing in certain New Mexico habitats.
Hickory trees provide food and habitat for wildlife.
Their hard wood is also valued for making tools and furniture.
Protecting these iconic trees will be important for preserving New Mexico's natural ecosystems.
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