Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A picturesque pecan

with 26 comments

Large Pecan Tree Turned Yellow 9093

I pulled over along TX 17 between Balmorhea and Fort Davis on the afternoon of November 19 to have a look at this large and picturesque pecan tree, Carya illinoensis, which ranks as perhaps the yellowest one I’ve ever seen. Having a bright blue sky to contrast with the differently bright tree didn’t hurt.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 2, 2015 at 3:49 AM

26 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ah, now for this the color wheel definitely is saying “Yes”. Great frame filler.

    Steve Gingold

    December 2, 2015 at 4:12 AM

    • I positively (“yes”) like the way you’ve anthropomorphized the color wheel into speaking its (or your) mind.

      I’d have preferred not getting a bit of road in the frame, but I couldn’t find a way to include the whole tree without that minor intrusion. I also took closer and more-disembodied pictures of the foliage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2015 at 4:20 AM

  2. Gorgeous colours! 🙂


    December 2, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    • The higher altitude and lower temperatures out there made a difference in the fall foliage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2015 at 8:40 AM

  3. Risking redundancy, I have to say I’m completely astounded by this. I can’t remember ever seeing a pecan turn colors. That this one did, vibrantly and completely, is a wonder. I’ve hung out around a lot of pecans, and gathered a lot of nuts, but this has given me a whole new sense of what’s possible for these trees. As for the photo, I didn’t notice the road at all. All my attention was compelled by that glowing tree.


    December 2, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    • Your comment (and my own wondering) sent me searching to see what I could find on the Internet. On a page from Getty Images I found a picture of a pecan tree covered with yellow foliage that probably would have looked as bright as the foliage I saw in west Texas if the Getty Image photograph had been taken on an equally sunny day rather than with an overcast sky.

      At the same time, I found many more pictures online of walnut trees with bright yellow foliage, and I confirmed that the Texas walnut, Juglans microcarpa, grows in the part of west Texas where I took my picture, so I could well have misidentified a walnut tree as a pecan. It would hardly be my first misidentification.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2015 at 9:17 AM

      • But no, my identification as a pecan was correct: lying on a kitchen counter at home here in Austin are a few pecan nuts that Eve gathered from the ground beneath the tree in today’s photograph.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 2, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        • That occurred to me at work this afternoon: that nuts would clear up any ambiguity. Good for Eve. The other thing that came to mind were the descriptions I’ve read of the glorious, 40-year flowering of the desert. It made sense that the same conditions that caused the flowers to outdo themselves would have allowed trees to put on a similar show. It seems you got to experience some of the season’s magnificence after all.


          December 2, 2015 at 6:46 PM

          • I did, and the fall foliage was a welcome counterpart to the dullness of the trees in Austin so far. Several other species were also turning colors, and I’ll post views of a few of those over the next few weeks. They probably won’t get much of a reaction from people in cold climates who are used to seeing autumn’s splendor, but viewers in warmer climates might be impressed.

            Steve Schwartzman

            December 2, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    • And I’m glad the road got lost for you in the splendor of the foliage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2015 at 9:20 AM

  4. A bit of yellow in the landscape is always such a joy…I always appreciate your information and your wonderful photos.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    December 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    • Thanks, Charlie. Throughout my adult life I’ve often thought that yellow is my favorite color. Foliage like what you see on this tree is the reason why.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2015 at 9:20 AM

  5. The blue, blue skies of west Texas just added to the photograph and made me want a west Texas fix.

    Kathy Galloway

    December 3, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    • I like the way you put it: a west Texas fix. That’s what it was for me after 10 years. I hope you make it back out there soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 3, 2015 at 8:58 AM

  6. Road? What road? This looks like sunshine wrapped up in a beautiful tree.


    December 3, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    • And I like the way you put that: sunshine wrapped up in a beautiful tree. Fortunately we had clear skies for most of our stay in the region.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 3, 2015 at 9:06 AM

  7. Well, that’s the first pecan tree I’ve seen and what an impressive colour it is. Contrast heaven! By the way, there is argument here how to pronounce “pecan.” Most Australians say “pee-can.” 🙂 Growers have told me it should be pronounced “peh-carn” with the emphasis on the last syllable. How does one pronounce it in Texas?


    December 3, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    • In Texas it’s something like pea-cahn, with emphasis on the second syllable. You can hear it pronounced if you go to


      and click the little speaker icon just to the right of the headword pecan.

      Growing up in New York, I used to pronounce it the first way you described.

      If you haven’t seen a pecan tree, I suspect you may never have tasted any pecan nuts, either. I’d mail you some, but Australian customs would never let them in (as we discovered in 2005 when the nuts we’d brought with us on the plane got confiscated as we entered the country).

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 3, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      • Actually, I’ve eaten pecans but only packaged ones. We can’t buy them loose (and fresh) here. Once I attempted to make a pecan pie. It looked terrible but tasted wonderful. Australian customs is extremely strict with food at airports. Not much comes in! 🙂


        December 3, 2015 at 10:13 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: