advent 6

It’s December sixth and day 6 of expressing what makes me happy during this holiday season. Come back everyday for a new photo/photo set. Today, my happiness is, trees!

More specifically, are all those lovely coniferous pine trees we see used as Christmas trees throughout the world. Christmas trees come in all shapes, sizes and species. In America, it’s thought that the bigger, the better. Here in Switzerland, the small and quaint tree is perfectly acceptable and what you will find for purchase in most places. Let’s not forget that Switzerland is full of forests and during this time of year, you can usually go directly to your local forestry and purchase a tree there.

Pines are evergreens, which means these trees never change the colors of their leaves (or in this case, needles), or lose them during certain parts of the year. The only time a pine changes colors and then loses their needles is when they are dying. The thing that makes pines stand out are their cones. Which is why a pine is also known as a conifer.

A tree decorated by a frosted spider web

A tree decorated by a frosted spider web

 

The cone is essential to the repopulation of pines, as they hold the seeds. The seeds are hidden tightly within the cone and as they are broken open by birds or other forest critters, they are dispersed into the air and carried by the wind to hopefully a place where a new tree can grow. Some cones open on their own after maturity and others rely on birds to aid in the reproduction process. Much like flowers rely on bees. Did you know, however, that there are some species of cones that can only open during very specific circumstances? “The seeds are stored in closed (“serotinous”) cones for many years until an environmental cue triggers the cones to open, releasing the seeds. The most common form of serotiny is pyriscence, in which a resin binds the cones shut until melted by a forest fire.” (quoted info from wikipedia) That’s right, you read correctly. Some cones will only release their seeds when in a fire. So, not only do we have pine trees to thank for the beauty of Christmas, but they are essentially very important to the regeneration of a forest after a devastating wild fire has tragically demolished it. There are sometimes, controlled fires within a forest in order to release these specific types of seeds out of their cones as well.

This season, I give thanks to all the trees that help make the holidays that much more beautiful. I’d like to share a quick video of a Christmas tree I spotted in a German store. Obviously, this one is fake, but it’s a snowing tree!

As always, clicking on a photo will make it bigger.

© Semi-Charmed Life

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5 thoughts on “advent 6

  1. Pingback: S. Thomas Summers | The Wisdom of Trolls

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