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Pine Seed Identification / Comparison Guide

You are here: Home : Articles : Pine Trees Last Updated on 03/03/2003    
Pine Seed Identification / Comparison Gu...

Article added by TractorUp on 03/03/2003
Full Article Title: Pine Seed Identification / Comparison Guide
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Coulter Pine: wings are generally dark brown and moderate in width and fairly long. Wings get thicker toward the seed where they may be as thick as the seed. Nearest the seed, the wings, rather than having the "bug wing" thickness characteristic, are so thick that they have a woody appearence & will break like wood. Wings can be removed by grasping wing in one hand and seed in other hand and pulling hands apart. Fresh seeds are usually have a dark brown to blackish coating that wears off over time. When this coating is worn off, the seed is a very light tan wood color. Some speckling may be apparent.

Jeffery Pine: wings are tan colored, moderately long & moderately narrow. Entire wing can easily be slid off of seed by grasping seed with one hand and wing in other hand and pulling hands apart. Wings get noticeably thicker toward the seed. Seeds may have an obvious speckling or speckling may be moderate & only on one side of the seed. Seeds are generally light in color with dark speckles. One end of seed comes to a defined point.

Sugar Pine: wings are dark brown. Wings are quite wide and not too long. Wings are very thin and brittle and frail and fragile but are very well sutured to the seed. The wings themselves are very weak but the attachment of the wing to the seed is weak. Generally, the wings will break off if the seed is picked up by lightly squeezing the wing width-wize. Wings will not pull off of seed if wing and seed are pulled in opposite directions; wing will tear instead. Sugar pine seed wing properties make them easy to remove as seeds are picked up off the ground: grasp the seed with thumb and first two fingers and slide one finger into the wing - breaking it off the seed. This will likely leave a "wing residue" on the seed, that is, the well attached part of the wing. This can be picked off the seed. Seeds are brown to reddish brown to dark brown possibly with a moderate amount of speckling generally on only one side of the seed. Seeds are generally oval shaped as opposed to having a sharply pointed end and are kind of bulbous but not exceedingly so.

Useful Comparisons:
Jeffery vs Sugar:
if wings are present the determination is quite easy. Sugar pine wings must be broken off, Jeffery pine wings are most easily pulled off. Sugar pine wings are thin & frail, Jeffery wings are thicker near seed and more resistant to breaking. Sugar wings are also wider, shorter, and darker in color than Jeffery wings. If only seed is available (most likely situation), Sugar seeds do not have as defined of a point as Jeffery seeds. Sugar seeds are generally slightly larger than Jeffery seeds. It's difficult to ID by color unless a large sample of viable seeds are available. If so, a heavy contrast in the colors of speckling indicates Jeffery, a ligher contrast in speckling indicates Sugar but this alone is not at all conclusive. Sugar seeds are GENERALLY darker than Jeffery seed. Also, the seed has a reddish appearance it's more likely a Sugar seed. With experience, a positve ID can easily be made of a single seed or between two seeds. Wings aid a great deal in making this determination. Sugar seeds are more bulbous, Jeffery seeds are a degree flatter.

Jeffery vs Coulter: wings of Coulter are darker, larger and thicker overall than those of Jeffery. The attachment of Jeffery & Coulter wings is nearly identical. If no wing is available you must look at the seed alone. Coulter seeds are alot like Sugar seeds except slightly flatter and slightly pointier & slightly less ovular. Jeffery seeds are more commonly speckled than Coulter and to a more noticeable degree. If fresh seeds are avail, Coulter seed will generally be nearly black in color, whereas Jeffery seed will be dark brown at most.
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