Vivipary: A ten dollar word that describes the premature germination of a pecan in the shuck during the Fall of the year. Normally, pecan seeds are fully dormant in October and require a 90-day chilling period to stimulate germination. However, a heavy nut crop and unusually warm, moist, weather conditions during shucksplit can trigger vivipary. In the photo at right, the yellow arrow points to a pecan root emerging from a recently harvested pecan. When a sprouted pecan is harvested and dried under normal harvest conditions, the little root dies and the embryo inside the shell decays. Ultimately, embryo rot totally destroys the value of the kernel.
Fortunately vivipary is a rather rare phenomenon in northern pecan areas. This year I've found only 2 sprouted nuts among the thousand of nuts I've collected for evaluation this winter. Most years I never see vivipary at all.