1. Kengi says

    In the last shot, a breeze had just hit the branch and you can see the pollen falling through the air from the male cones. When a large bird lands or takes off, there’s always a cloud of pollen that is visible from quite a distance that wafts through the air. At the moment, various tree pollen is thick enough around here that I could write “wash me” on the top of the garbage can lid this morning.

  2. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin says those aren’t any cheeses she recognises. At first she suggested — well, screamed in my ear (same thing) — they were horse seedlings, but then got into an argument with the spider that lives behind the monitor (and possibly also the extremely angry mouse who occupies the Tardis in one of the cabinet of curiosities, I’m sure I heard a sonic screwdriver) — and the consensus opinion is they are seedlings for horse-somethinged boules. The, ah, “discussion”, now, is whether the “something” is flavoured, smelling, flying, or rampaging, and whether boules refers to the game’s balls, the game itself, or disguised peas…

  3. says

    Now I am confused about the intricacies of English language. The pictures are beautiful, no dispute about that. But depicted is not a pine (Pinus sp.) but a spruce (Picea sp.). Are spruce cones also called pine cones?

  4. says

    Charly, that was my mistake. Kengi referred to them as conifer cones. This is what happens when I’m posting at 6:30 am and not awake yet. I’ll correct it!

  5. Kengi says

    “Pine cone” is a common generic term for “conifer cone” here. Almost no one says “spruce cones” (when applicable), and few say “conifer cones” (I do, but get strange looks when I do it). Both would be more accurate, but, what can I say… America!

    Not sure about how that use came about, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it had something to do with Christmas marketing. Lots of pine cones and references in Christmas displays.

  6. says

    No problem, it’s fixed now! Anyroad, I’ll confirm what Kengi said, ‘pinecone’ is used generically here, they are heavily associated with traditional xmas trees and all that. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell a pine and a spruce apart anyway.

  7. Kengi says

    After some quick Google U, I also see that, in English, the “pine family” of trees (pinaceae) includes cedars, firs, hemlocks, larches, pines and spruces. So it’s not just pine cone (or is it pinecone?), but “pine” seems to be an acceptable generic term for many conifer trees.

  8. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin points out that rebranding / renaming the seedlings for horse-somethinged boules still does not make them cheese.

  9. says



    /rant mode
    This one has caused me some serious headache a few years ago. I learned that hemlock is the name of a poisonous plant from the carrot family (Conium maculatum). So when I was reading the word hemlock about North america, I was left wondering how the hell could it be a tree?? Then I found out, due google, that in US “hemlock” is a name for Tsuga sp..

    I also learned that Lyriodendron tulipifera is called yellow poplar, despite not being even remotely related to poplars and more importantly, not bein even similar to any of them in looks.

    And so on and so on, different species of one genus can have completely different english names and trees of different geni can have the same root in english name etc. I mean, what the hell? Who came up with these nonsensical english names for trees? There is absolutely no underlying logic to it.

    In Czech mostly (there may be rare exceptions but none from the top of my head) the czech nomenclature very nicely conforms with the scientific one, also you have a czech name for a genus and a second name for the species -- Populus nigra=topol osika=aspen; Populus nigra=topol černý=black poplar; Lyriodendron tulipifera=liliovník tulipánokvětý=yellow poplar.
    /rant mode off

    So I gave up on trying to learn proper english names for trees. My head is too small for that. Thank goodnes for google.

  10. says


    “pine” seems to be an acceptable generic term for many conifer trees.

    It is. I do that myself, when referring to the two massive pines enclosing the front deck, when one is a pine, and the other a spruce. No doubt a bad habit, but one I am very guilty of doing.

  11. blf says

    Heh. I never knew hemlock was the common name for anything but the poisonousness plant. Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge says that it is the common name for several plants. In the specific case of Tsuga, “[t]he common name hemlock is derived from a perceived similarity in the smell of its crushed foliage to that of the unrelated plant poison hemlock.”

  12. lumipuna says

    Ah, botanical nitpicking!

    Some languages like Finnish and apparently Czech have consciously developed direct equivalents for scientific taxons. English language societies across world don’t have a shared science-media establishment or a shared government or even a shared biogeographic region.

  13. lumipuna says

    In Finland it was found some years ago that schoolkids these days can’t always tell a pine from spruce. That was held as a sign of world going to hell in a handbasket.

    My friend is a former primary school biology teacher who went to do labwork on spruce cell cultures. I then got the opportunity to quip, “They say kids these days can’t tell a Picea cell suspension from Pinus cell suspension!” One of my most successful cracks ever.

  14. voyager says

    Gorgeous light and colour. I also lazily refer to all such things as pine cones. In fact, up until right this moment I never even considered being more specific about the type of tree.

  15. Ice Swimmer says

    Beautiful conifer cones. It’s interesting that the scales are backwards in an immature spruce cone.

    I think the actual problem in English is not having a short and sweet single word specific for a conifer cone. Finnish and Swedish both have one, käpy and kotte respectively. I’d guess this has something to do with pines and spruces being the most common trees in Finland and also very common in Sweden and both ecologically and economically significant.

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