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Can pine cones actually predict how harsh winter will be?

Thursday, December 19th 2019, 12:08 pm - Do pine cones predict winter weather conditions? What do higher pine cones on trees mean?

Supposedly, you can tell how harsh the winter is going to be by the height of pine cones in the trees. The higher they are, the worse the season will be.

There are actually a bunch of myths surrounding the pine cones – for example, if they’re larger, it’s because the tree “expects” a harsh winter and wants future saplings to have a chance to survive.

Onlookers say it’s even linked to squirrels and birds. When a harsh winter is on the way, pine trees produce as many cones as they can - they somehow “expect” that squirrels and birds share their opinion on the coming season, and will forage for more pine seeds to stock up ahead of time (you hear this one about other trees too – acorns, walnuts etc).

Scientists don’t put much stock in this one – it’s more likely the trees are reacting to past conditions than predicting future ones (and this researcher says even if the trees “seem” to be right sometimes, the wrong guesses would outnumber the right ones).

With files from Daniel Martins

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