Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Nature It Is Not Impolite To Point

I took a few trips around the pond trying to find something 'pointed' for this week's PhotoHunt theme. I had a few ideas, but they didn't seem to come across in the photographs. Finally I got what I needed. And along with it I got a little education. At first glance this pine cone may appear to be only moderately 'pointed', but a closer look reveals the growth of the 'pointed' spikes on each of the scales of the pine cone. These pointed spikes are called prickles on the yellow pine. Any kid who has ever been in a pine cone fight using immature pine cones can tell you those prickles are definitely pointed.

I was surprised to learn that there are male cones and female cones. Actually the male cones are usually in clusters at the end of a limb and normally wither and die after they release their pollen. The female cone is the one we are mostly familiar with. It takes at least two years for a female cone to mature in virtually all conifers. The first year it remains relatively small and then it matures rapidly during the second year.

This photo is of a younger cone on the same tree. It almost resembles a small pineapple, but the yellow will quickly darken into the green of the first photo. Cones can remain on some conifers for up to 10-15 years and still produce viable seeds.

Perhaps within a year or so this cone will be fully matured and ready to open its shingle-like scales and disperse its seeds to the winds of nature.


Weekly Theme - Pointed

19 comments:

  1. That did make me smile....I was a bit of a tomboy as a child.....I know all about conker fights and pine cones.....
    Sweet memories......thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awww, cheryl. You could never have been a tomboy, lol.

    I can remember a few of those fights myself. We had regular wars and would store up ammunition. Luckily most of the combatants were nice enough to never aim at the face.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pine cone wars! Those were the days, eh? Thanks, Baker, for always giving interesting and fascinating information about things we often take for granted.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm always amazed by how much I learn myself when I do a little bit of research. I like to pass at least a little along.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the comment!Perfect shot for pointed theme! We have a lot of those!
    Scrapbooking and Photography

    ReplyDelete
  6. My pleasure ladynred - Liked the photo of the tower. It brought back memories.

    ReplyDelete
  7. yay! indeed a pointed one ;-) nice pics u got in here too

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey, sexy momma!
    (it's fun to say that without worrying about getting slapped, lol)

    Thanks for the visit and the kind comments.

    Baker

    ReplyDelete
  9. Informative post. I never knew there were male cones and female cones. Is that how baby cones are made? lol ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yep, Rose. LOL

    And if I get a graphic photo of that process I will be sure to post it and send the link to you, lol. Of course I will have to sneak out there at night as I understand they are a bit shy about such things.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cool shot!
    Suzanne

    Mine's here: http://zipperedheart.blogspot.com/2008/07/photo-hunt-117-pointed.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks Suzanne. And I liked your spider shot. Been trying to get one myself. I imagine after you got the shot the spider got the HotShot if it was around the house, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOL, No! It was outside on the deck. So we did not have to dispose of it. It is actually a small one. I took this photo when we lived up in CT, about a year ago. Now that we are in FL I see MUCH bigger ones!
    :-) Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very cool picture. I've never seen a cone like that. We have more white pines than yellow ones in MI.

    Mine is here.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh yes Suzanne. I'm familiar with some of those big ones. I lived in FL for a while and I'm from GA so we get a few big ones, too.

    Clara - Thanks for the visit. That cone is still immature and will grow a good bit more and turn brown like most cones. It will not be overly large as cones go. I've been thinking maybe I should post a follow up photo of a completely mature cone from that tree.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm new the photohunt. I really like yours. You have some beautiful photos on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks ladykli - Welcome to photohunt.

    As you can probably see I'm pretty new to photohunt also. I can see that some weeks it will be a real challenge as I want to post photo's that reflect the theme but are also in line with the main subject matter of the blog which is the pond itself and the creatures and plant life in and around it. I can see some on the schedule that are likely to be very hard to manage.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I LOVE this take on "Pointed!"

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks moziesme - And don't you get into any pine cone fights, lol.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.