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Persimmon Test to Predict Winter

Oct 10

Our horticulturist, Kyle, performed an old farmer’s method for predicting the severity of winter by cutting a persimmon seed in half and observing the shape of the cotyledons (the first two leaves to develop from a seed). These old-fashioned tests for forecasting weather conditions range from schemes involving goose bones, sizes of spider-webs, and even a pig spleen!  This test unfolds as follows: farmers would split persimmon seeds as they ripened to see if the yet-to-emerge cotyledons were shaped like a spoon, fork, or knife.

persimmon seed, a persimmon leaf & fruit, and the knife

persimmon seed, a persimmon leaf & fruit, and the knife

If the shape resembled a spoon, that meant a heavy snowfall, the spoon representing a shovel surely needed for snow removal.  A fork shape meant the farmer should expect a milder winter, with light, powdery snowfall.  A knife forecasted a cold, icy winter – the knife symbolizing the cutting feel of the icy air.  After cutting six seeds in half, Kyle and our volunteer Chris observed five spoons, and what looks to be one fork (third from the right).

persimmon seeds

persimmon seeds

All indications from this persimmon test would point to a harsh winter with heavy snowfall!  The more optimistic side of Kyle & Chris would like to use the fork-shaped cotyledon, but unfortunately the spoons outnumber the lone fork.


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