Question RE pinecones

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Aug 6 08:39:03 EST 1997

At 4:14 PM -0400 8/4/97, dwhite1 wrote:
>This seems to be the closest newsgroup I can find that might be able to
>help me with a (probably silly) question.  There is a very interesting
>evergreen tree down the street that looks like a giant bonsai tree, more or
>less.  It is about 20 feet tall, though.  It has a large number of pine
>cones, some of which were closed and some open.  I grabbed some of the
>cones on the ground, and even one on the tree to see if I might be able to
>grow a couple of seeds to see what happens.  The problem is that I couldn't
>find any seeds!  I thought that the seeds could be found typically in the
>bottom or corner of each "petal" of the pinecone.  These pine cones have
>nothing there, not even a small seed.  Am I missing something here?  Could
>this be some sort of hybrid that can no longer produce seeds?
>Thanks in advance for any help or direction to a website that may be

The cones on pines usually open quite suddenly
as a group and shed most (but not all) of their
seeds over a short period of time.  Here in CT(USA)
most pines shed their seeds in January-February
onto the snow.  Other species (P. rigida, etc.)
keep cones closed until a fire.  If the tree has
dry-brown cones that ARE closed at this time,
you can harvest them put them in a WARM (NOT HOT)
oven for a few seconds until they pop open.  Watch
them during this time so as to avoid roasting the
seeds and also to see the amazing opening response!

The seeds need stratification, but if they have
already been through a winter, then they are ready
to sprout!!  Plant them about 1 cm deep in potting
soil and keep moist.  Germination should be complete
in a week or so and sprouts should appear within three


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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