Look at this huge pinecone we found on a recent trip to Mt. Diablo! I’m so glad we have a SUV because we couldn’t have brought it home in a compact. In addition to football-sized dimensions and considerable weight, the cone also has hooked spurs that were still pointing outwards when I plucked it from the tree – it looks much less threatening now that it’s opened up. Thanks to the helpful and adorably Comic-Sans-ish page Pining for Pines by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., I’ve identified it as a Big-cone Pine (well, duh!) or Pinus coulteri. Wikipedia happens to have a fitting name for it as well:

The large size of the cones has earned them the nickname “widowmakers” among locals. (Wikipedia: Coulter Pine)

This is not really an exaggeration because they can weigh up to 10 pounds – which makes them the heaviest pinecones in the world. (The world’s largest tree Sequoiadendron giganteum has disappointingly tiny cones, by the way.)

5 Responses to “Pinocchio”

  1. T.M. Says:

    1100m – sowas “Mount” zu nennen, ist schon bißchen vermessen, Frollein.

    Das beste an solchen Pinien ist der Geruch, wenn man vielleicht etwas oberhalb steht und ein bißchen Thermik durch so einen Wald den Hang hinaufgleitet. Hoher Suchtfaktor.

  2. T.M. Says:

    Das ist ja pervers.

  3. ilse Says:

    12 inches, huh?

  4. cohu Says:

    Heh. Speaking of which, the cones of the Sugar Pine – another California native – can grow up to 26 inches (66cm) long.

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