Predicting the Winter Weather–Reading the Persimmon Seeds

Long before he tamed the electron, and the Weather Channel became a thing, Man has been looking for ways to look into the future and predict the weather. Especially the winter weather. Such knowledge could be the difference between life and death. In search of this power of foresight, natives, pioneers and farmers turned to nature. Wooly worms, squirrels burying nuts, migrations of birds, and other "signs" were used to divine the future. And my grandmothers favorite: persimmon seeds.

The Persimmon Tree
Persimmons grow in the midwest and south. It's dense wood was once in demand for golf club heads, and each fall, it produces a bounty of large, soft orange berries. Hunters in areas with persimmons know it's an important soft mass once they start dropping. Nearly everything in the woods eats persimmons. And since they don't last long after they fall, a persimmon tree will be heavily visited as long as the fruit lasts. For humans, like my grandmother, the ripe  persimmons are the base for delicious fall treats like cookies, cakes, and my favorite, persimmon pudding.  Processing persimmons leaves you a bowl full of delicious pulp, and a bowl of seeds.  Using clues in those seeds, Mamaw claimed she could predict the winter weather.

Persimmon treeunripe persimmonsripe persimmons

Only the Persimmon Knows

So how did she predict the winter with persimmons?   After splitting the seeds open, she would examine the embryonic leaves.  They tend to be arranged in 3 shapes: like a knife, like a fork or like a spoon. She claimed that a knife shape foretold "cutting cold", a fork "warm, like the devils lair", and a spoon "lots of snow".   Proportions of each shape would determine her forecast for the winter.

winter with persimmons split seedsnull

So What Do the Seeds Foretell for winter?

My quick trip to the local persimmon tree yielded just enough fallen fruit for some pictures and a small sample of seeds to look at.  However, I can't put this out without rendering an opinion of what the winter will hold.  With a sample size of only 28 seeds, I'm confident in predicting a cold, snowy winter this year.  Eerily similar to what I've seen else where.  Better sharpen my ice auger.

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Paul Winks

About the Author:

I'm Paul Winks, and I'm proud to join the group at Military Hunting and Fishing. I'm a life long Hoosier, and Purdue Boilermaker fan. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. My grandmother introduced me to panfish and morel mushrooms at a young age. My uncles took me on my first squirrel and rabbit hunts, and my Dad instilled a love of deer hunting and an appeitite for ginseng. Other intrerests, like waterfowl and turkeys, I picked up on my own. These days, waterfowl and river fishing consume most of my outdoor time, but I do still dabble in small game and deer every year. My two sons are my outdoor companions these days. I've spent a lot of time and effort to teach them the same respect and love for the outdoors that I developed years ago. I also have an entire tribe of grandsons, from first grade down to 2. My hands are gonna be full for years to come. I'm a welder by trade. That ability and desire to build has made me a avid DIY'er. Duck decoys, tree stands, and even duck boats...if I use it, I'm gonna try to build it. Chances are, if you are here, we have a lot of common interests. I look forward to sharing mine with you!
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