Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pine Cones

When raking the lawn as part of spring cleanup, I came across these pine cones, from a neighbor's tree.  What was amazing to me is how tightly wrapped the one on the left is.  The one on the right had started to open at the top.  This is part of the pine tree's reproduction process - when the cones open, seeds for more pine trees drop out.  The pine cones need warmth before they will open.  After photographing them in the house, I set them on a shelf, and now they are both completely open.  When I was in Yellowstone after the fires of 1988, the biologists spoke of how fire is an important part of this process. The heat of the fires causes the cones to open after the fire is over, and the seeds fall on the ash covered ground.  Apparently there are nutrients in the ashes which act like fertilizer and help the seeds get a start.

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