Conifers: The Cone Bearing Seed Plants (page 2)
More Fun With Conifers!
Pinecones are hygroscopic (able to absorb [take in] water from the air). When pinecones' scales absorb water, they swell and close. Drying allows the scales to separate. You can observe pinecones to tell whether the air is humid or dry. Test the humidity of the air in your home by placing four or more pinecones in two different containers. Small baskets will make the pinecone arrangement an attractive addition to the room. Use mature pinecones, the largest cones produced by the tree. Set the baskets in different rooms of the house, such as the bathroom and a bedroom. Over a period of seven or more days, compare the difference in the scales on the pinecones in each room. If there is no change, soak the cones from one basket in a bowl of water. After 30 minutes or more, remove the cones and compare their scales with the dry cones to determine if the air in your home is dry or humid. Remember that pinecones absorb water from the air, and humid air contains more water than dry air.
- Braithwaite, Althea. Trees and Leaves. New York: Troll Associates, 1990. Information and colored diagrams about leaves and trees, including conifers.
- NatureScope: Trees Are Terrific! Washington, D.C.: National Wildlife Federation, 1992. Information about trees, including information and diagrams about conifers as well as indoor and outdoor activities.
- VanCleave, Janice. Plants. New York: Wiley, 1997. Experiments about plants, including some about conifers. Each chapter contains ideas that can be turned into award-winning science fair projects.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.