Meteorologists have the latest technology when it comes to predicting the weather (and thank goodness for technology!). But, sometimes, Mother Nature knows best. One way we can look to nature to predict precipitation might be hanging in your backyard- pinecones.

Dry weather = open pinecone
Wet weather = closed pinecone

Pinecones are the way pine trees reproduce and make more trees. The seeds are found at the base of the scales, near where they connect to the pinecone. The pinecone’s job is to protect the seeds, or pine nuts. When the cones are open, pine seeds can be blown away from the cone by the wind. When the pinecones are closed, the seeds are trapped and protected.

When we hear the word ‘pinecone’, we think of the hard, woody structure. The typical pinecone is a female. Female pinecones use their woody outer layer to keep their seeds safe. They have big dreams for their seeds, to pollinate and grow.

Male pinecones are soft and spongy. They are much smaller and live for a short length of time, usually in the spring. They do not make the hard-shelled woody case like the females do. Male pinecones produce pollen, which is carried around the air by wind, in hopes of finding a female pinecone on a different pine tree. This is the pollination process.

Next time you’re out in nature, notice the pinecones. They can give you a heads-up on what’s to come with the weather.