While writing about dripping pine cones I learned that mature cones open and close many times and can do so for many years.
They do this in response to wetness — even after they release their seeds, even after they’ve fallen from the tree. In fact the open/closed status of fallen cones is a simple indication of wildfire risk because it shows the dryness of the forest floor.
So what does a wet cone look like? Can you tell which one is wet and which is dry, above?
Here’s a view of the tail end.
And here’s an overhead view.
By now you’ve probably guessed the answer so you’re ready to play Cone In A Bottle.
Put the closed cone in a bottle and wait for it to open. If you want to get the cone out, do you add water or remove it?
The answer is in the comments below.
(photos by Kate St. John)