|Nuts from seedling pecan trees compared to Pawnee (circled)|
The genetic diversity within pecan is amazingly wide. In our breeding plot, we used Pawnee as one of the primary parents in making controlled crosses. In the photo above, I've arranged some of the seedling nuts we have collected that ripen before or at the same time as Pawnee. The two nuts circled in the center of the photo are Pawnee nuts to give you a reference for comparison.
There are a couple of seedling nuts that remind of the Pawnee parent, but the vast majority are drastically different in size and shape. Some of these seedlings will have thick shells while others will be thin shelled. But remember, nut size and percent kernel are just two traits that we need to look at in searching for new pecan cultivars. Disease resistance, good tree structure, and high yield are three major traits are also on the top of my wish list. Its no wonder that new, exceptional, pecan cultivars are so hard to come by.