I have always thought that pine trees are pretty neat. I am fascinated by how big they can grow, I enjoy their smell, and loved playing under them and with pine cones as a kid.
Big Ladybug and I had a great time learning about pine cones. We were able to observe several different pine trees at my sister’s house. We gathered branches and cones from 3 trees: Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, and Eastern White Pine.
Eastern White Pine
Big Ladybug enjoyed looking at our samples with her magnifying glass. She also liked taking apart the cones in search for seeds.
What we learned….
- Pine cones take a couple years to fully mature.
- There are pollen cones and seed cones.
- The purpose of the cone is to protect and release the seeds.
- Pine cones are closed tightly in cold or wet weather to protect the seeds from rain and snow. When the weather is warm and dry the pine cones open and seeds may fall to the ground.
- Pine cone seeds not only grow new trees, but they are also food for animals and people. Squirrels and grizzly bears eat pine cones and their seeds, and we eat pine nuts on our salads :)
Check out other pine cone studies at Handbook of Nature Study.