Q:

What is inside a pine cone?

A:

Quick Answer

The inside of a pine cone holds developing seeds, which are protected by woody scales held together tightly by resin. The resin loosens and allows the scales to open when the seeds mature, giving the seeds the opportunity for dispersal.

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Full Answer

Seeds remain in a pine cone anywhere between a few months to a few years, and some remain inside the cone until it rots or until a fire occurs. A pine cone's seed forms a tree from the Pinaceae family, which is the largest family in the group of trees known as conifers.

Pine trees bear both male and female pine cones. The female pine cones are located in the upper branches of the tree to prevent self-fertilization, and are pollinated when the male cones of surrounding trees open in the late spring. Once pollinated, the scales of the female pine cone close to allow the seeds to develop.

Once the seed is released from the pine cone, it is carried by the wind or by animals to a location where it can germinate and grow. Many pine cones bear seeds with wings. The wings facilitate the dispersal of the seeds by the wind. Seeds without wings are often gathered by animals for food and stored for later consumption before they are forgotten and begin to germinate.

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