The other morning while at a park, Anna brought me a pine cone and said, “My friend Hannah told me that when a pine cone is closed like this, it is going to rain.” I looked around at the sunshine and white puffy clouds and said, “Well, I don’t think it’s going to rain.” She did not argue and went to play some more.
Within ten minutes, the clouds had turned grey and the sky was dark. Anna so conveniently happened to be next to me on the bench, holding another tightly closed pine cone. She said, “It looks rainy now.” I couldn’t do anything but respond with, “Yes, it does, doesn’t it?”
Within a few minutes the sun was shining brightly again, but because I was curious, I told her she could bring the pine cones home with us. I wanted to watch them to see if they opened up later.
We got home dry, but around mid-afternoon, we had a short 10 minute shower with the sun shining the whole time. (Don’t you love sunny showers?). And by early evening, the pine cone was beginning to open again.
Still extremely curious, I did a little research and discovered that, even when pine cones are no longer receiving nutrition from the tree, they still have the capability of closing on humid days. This protects the seeds and allows the pine cone to hold onto the seeds until a dryer day when the wind is more able to pick them up and carry them to a safe place to grow. So, there you have it. Your science lesson for today.
Here are a few interesting things I learned about pine cones while researching:
- They can be used as a natural way to predict weather.
- An idea for clothing was taken from them.
- You can boggle your friends with them.
By the way, Anna has been taking care of her pine cones like little pets, and they did open up completely over the next day or two. They are now sitting (still open) on our deck, and for some reason they are still open even though it rained today. Too bad I already admitted to Anna that she was right. I might have a case now:) Just teasing. I mean, after all, she has the internet to back her up, so she has to be right. Right?