Do You Say Pecan or Pacane?

I don’t know how many Americans would recognize this grove at this distance to be a quintessential Pecan grove, but, most Southerners do. We live amongst so many of these deciduous trees and pull the fruit of them from our windshield wipers all Fall and Winter long. Every time the breeze kicks up, Pecans fall all over our landscape and our grandmothers bake pies. This particular grove is part of Brookland Plantation in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. And, I always find the leafless fields in the cold season to be a lonely and lovely sight. I came across a really fantastic article here from the American Forests website, written by a botanist named Jeff Ball, that points out that the word pecan comes from the Algonquin tribe of American aboriginal/First Nations inhabitants to mean the nut so hard as to require a stone to crack. Maybe the Algonquins didn’t run across the Sumner Paper Shell variety or maybe that variety is a modern grafting product and didn’t exist when the tribe was pounding the nut wondering what they should call it. Mainly, I sit around and ponder the reason there is such a nasty, bitter slice in between so tasty and wonderful a prize. And, of course I can get into a conversation about the pronunciation…So how do YOU pronounce the word? It still is unsettled with me.

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