Q:

What is the difference between male and female pine cones?

A:

Quick Answer

The pine cones typically thought of as pine cones are actually the bigger female pine cones; male pine cones are not as woody and are much smaller in size. Female pine cones hold the seeds whereas male pine cones contain the pollen. Most conifers, or cone-bearing trees, have female and male pine cones on the same tree.

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What is the difference between male and female pine cones?
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Full Answer

A female pine cone, also called a megasporangiate strobilus, consists of cone or seed scales that hold two ovules, the unfertilized seeds. It takes about two years for female pine cones to become mature. When the seed matures, the cone opens up, exposing the seeds to the environment. Once the seeds are mature, the seed scales fall out of the cone. Seeds are then carried away from the parent tree by the wind and animals. Some female pine cones do not open up until they experience high temperatures such as during a forest fire.

The male pine cone, or microsporangiate strobilus, do not last as long as their female counterparts. Every spring, the pollen from the male pine cones are released into the air where they may eventually land on a scale on the female cone. Male pine cones are usually yellowish because of the pollen dust. Male cones exist in clusters on the tips of the branches of pine trees.

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Related Questions

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    Do squirrels eat pine cones?

    A:

    There are a few species of squirrels, including the Chickaree, that eat pine cones. American Reds and Mearn's squirrels also eat pine cones.

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  • Q:

    When do pine trees drop pine cones?

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    Pine cones drop from pine trees when they reach full maturation, which is when they reach approximately 2 years of age. These 2-year-old cones are female.

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    How do pine cones reproduce?

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    Pine cones reproduce by releasing seeds, either with wing-like structures that help them be dispersed by the wind or without wings to be dispersed by animals. The cones themselves are made up of woody scales that protect the seeds until they are ready and the conditions are right.

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    Where do pine nuts come from?

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    Pine nuts grow inside cones and are the edible seeds of pine trees. There are approximately 20 species of pine trees in Asia, Europe and North America that produce pine nuts large enough to harvest as food. Pine trees are members of the Pinaceae family.

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