What are pine cones exactly? Pine cones are the seed pods of Pinophyta (conifers), which include cedars, pines, spruce, and redwoods.
To the naked eye, most people would see a typical pinecone, but there is more to them than meets the eye. There are both female and male pine cones. The female cones are the largest of the two and contain the seeds. The females start off green and sticky but turn brown and hard after they are fertilized -to protect the seeds inside. The rough exterior protects the seeds from freezing temperatures in the winter. The male pinecone is smaller, bumpy and soft with close scales that hold pollen sacks that produce the pollen that pollinates the female pinecone. Insects do not pollinate pines. The male relies on the wind to drift the pollen onto the opened female pine cone which conveniently sits lower on the tree than the male cone. Both the male and female cones have scales, but they are much more prominent on the female and are called megasporophylls. The female cone houses many seeds that fall out when the conifer tree has matured, and the conditions are just right. It may take a few years for seeds to begin to develop under the scales of the female pinecone. Each female pinecone has about 200 seeds depending on the exact species. An interesting fact about pinecones is that they produce about 20 different types of pine nuts that are edible for people. A pinecone appeals to our senses. The smell is reminiscent of pine sap and pine needles and is a very invigorating scent. Visually, female pinecones are brown, conical, woody and spread open. Touching a pinecone might hurt a little because of the prickly scales.
Pine cones are very versatile and can be used for many things from making potpourri to seasonal crafts.
Because of this, cones have become increasingly more popular. You can even use them as craft supplies as well or also see them in potpourri. Some will use them as day to day decorations to give a home a more cabin, outdoorsy feel. They are great to have the most natural look to any part of your gardening, or you’re decorating indoor or outdoor. The cones are harvested from the more mature trees, so you are receiving the best pine cones. You can use them to make a significant wreath or candle ring, giving you’re decorating a very natural look. They can be purchased in one-gallon bags.