Contributed by Thom Mrazik, Morris Arboretum Volunteer and Master Gardener 


Upright immature cones of Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ (Atlas Cedar)

Do you love pine cones like I do? The cones of the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) are so fun and interesting. They are long (about 3-7 inches), curvy, cylindrical, and often even aromatic. There seem to be plenty of them around, and there are reasons why. The pine tree family (Pinacea) is the dominant conifer (i.e. cone-bearing) tree species in North America.  And, at the Morris Arboretum, you'll find almost 80 specimens of white pine trees—a paradise for pine cone lovers at the Arboretum!    


Small prickly cones of Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese cedar)

 A visit to the Morris Arboretum will expand your interest in cones and discovery. Here you will find hundreds of other major conifer tree species from around the world. Why do I mention this fact? Well, first of all, they are all very beautiful, with differing habits, colors and ornamental interest. For this reason alone, it is worth visiting the Arboretum to enjoy evergreen conifers, especially while deciduous trees are in dormancy. 

For ardent cone lovers, the Arboretum’s variety of conifer trees offers a wide array of uniquely different looking cones!  Did you know that the barrel-shaped cones of fir (Abies) and cedar (Cedrus) trees stand upright on the branches, rather than hang downward like most conifers? Junipertrees (Juniperus) bear bluish fleshy cones which look like small berries, while the cones of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria) are also small, but distinctly woody, globular, and prickly.    

Curious about discovering interesting, unique cones?  Visit the Arboretum on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 2:00pm for a free (with admission), one-hour guided tour of the Arboretum’s conifers. Or, when you next visit the Arboretum, plan your own your cone-discovery adventure!