Pinecone predicts the weather

Pinecone predicts the weather!

Pinecone predicts the weather! Set up your own weather station on the window sill.

When the weather is dry the pinecones open up and when it’s going to rain the pinecones close down.

You need: a pinecone

What to do: Have a look at the pinecone every day and record whether it is open or close. Is it raining?

What is happening?

Pinecones can act as a hygrometer– an instrument to measure the humidity.

When the weather is dry the outside scales of the pinecones shrink more than the inside ones.  The scales open up allowing the seeds to get out. This way the wind helps the light seeds to disperse far away from the tree.

To reproduce the dry conditions, place your pinecone in the oven at ca. 100 C for ca. 1 hour.

When the weather is wet and humid the scales swell and the pinecones close to prevent the seeds escaping. This is because the light seeds will become wet and heavy so they will travel only a short distance from the tree.

To reproduce the wet weather, place your pinecone into a glass with cold water for a couple of minutes.

That’s what happened when we tried the experiment.

Pinecone predicts the weather

Please, note, not all pinecone varieties open and close with humidity.