Pecan cultivars
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'Owens' (photo) (nut drawing) ('Chiles AAA')

Orig. as chance seedling among 2000 nursery seedlings planted in 1900 on Cuba Island in Moon Lake, Coahoma County, MS by F. M. Owens. First propagated in 1911. Introd. in 1930. Nut: oval elliptic with obtuse apex and base; round in cross section; shell rough, ridged, with silver sheen; 60 nuts per pound; 48% kernel; kernels with wide dorsal grooves, narrow dorsal ridge, deep basal cleft; cracks out well. Protandrous, with early to mid-season pollen shed and mid- to late-season receptivity. Strong tree structure withstands wind and sleet. Annual bearer of moderate crop. Resistant to scab. Resistant to black pecan aphid. Recommended (1990) for planting in AL, AR and MS.

The following is from the article written by Taylor, W. A. and H. P. Gould. 1913. Promising New Fruits. pp. 277-278, plate VIII. Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture. 1912. Government Printing Office, Washington.

"The description of pecan varieties which follow have been furnished by Mr. C. A. Reed, scientific assistant, Bureau of Plant Industry.

The original tree of the Owens pecan was grown from a nut purchased and planted in the spring of 1900 by Mr. F. M. Owens, upon whose plantation it now stands, near Gerald, Coahoma County, Miss. Mr. Owens purchased nuts for planting from the J. Steckler Seed Co., of New Orleans, and from Mr. S. H. James, of Mound, La. Having made no attempt to keep the seedling trees from the two sources apart, he is now unable to determine from which source the seed came. The nut characters and the habit of the tree so much resemble the Frotscher, one of the varieties then bein sold by the J. Steckler Seed Co., that it seems fair to assume that the Owens is a seedling of that variety. (LJG notes: Isozyme analysis of the two cultivars shows Frotscher as BB for phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI2) while Owens is AC for PGI2, a combination that is not possible if Frotscher were a parent).

The original tree was grown in a nursery row and subsequently removed to its present location. In 1907 it bore one nut. In 1908 the crop was an entire failure, but in 1909 it matured about 100 nuts, and in 1910 it had approximately 300 nuts. In 1911 it bore about 37 pounds, but in 1912 the crop was again very light. The nuts usually mature about September 20. This variety was first propagated in the spring of 1911, when Mr. Owens sent scions to two nurserymen in Louisiana for use in top working. Its name was suggested in March, 1911, by Mr. James, in honor of Mr. Owens.


Size large, varying from 55 to 80 nuts per pound, averaging from 60 to 65; form oblong, oval slightly compressed, with tapering base and apex, often one sided; sutures quite distinct, somewhat ridged; color reddish gray-brown with broad reddish-black to black markings, mainly at apical end; shell thin; partitions fragile; cracking quality excellent; kernel somewhat shriveled, often lacking in plumpness; surface not always smooth; texture rather dry; flavor fairly good; quality good.

The parent tree is described by Mr. Owens as being about 40 feet tall, having a spread of 40 feet 4 inches, and as measuring 33 inches around the trunk at breast height. The foliage is dense, leaflets large, rather coarse, and of a dark-green color. The old wood is of a slaty-gray color and the new growth an olive green. On the new wood the dots (lenticels) are narrow, long, and quite numerous.

The fact that the place of origin of this variety is near the northern limit of the region known to be adapted to the southern varieties combines with the good size, ease of cracking, and earliness of maturing of the nuts to make this variety well worthy of trial in northern Mississippi, southern Arkansas, southern Oklahoma, and sections of similar soil and climatic conditions.

The specimens illustrated in Plate VIII are from the original tree, crop of 1911, and were supplied by Mr. Owens."

LJ Grauke , Research Horticulturist & Curator
USDA-ARS Pecan Genetics
Route 2 Box 133
Somerville, TX 77879
fax: 409-272-1401

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