Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weather Forecast of a Persimmon

Persimmon trees are truly laden with ripe berries this year, so much so that in lawn settings, fallen persimmons are creating their own pudding of decay as they rot on the ground. I have been fortunate to collect several bags of persimmons this year, adding them to pumpkin cookies and to my little pots of Greek yogurt. Perhaps the abundant fruit this year is a related response to last year’s drought, and abundant as persimmons are, branches are bending ever slightly towards the ground waiting for relief of fruit drop.

I couldn’t find persimmons last year, so I failed to check the winter weather forecast by slicing a seed in half and examining the cutlery shape. Until recently, I didn’t realize this tradition of cutting into a persimmon seed to look for the shape of a spoon, a fork or a knife was Ozark-based, but according to several sources, it is. Tradition holds that if a split seed exhibits a spoon, the winter will include significant snowfall of heavy, wet snow. If it is resembles a fork, expect powdery, light snow and mild winter weather conditions. If the cut seed shows a knife, we can expect winter to be icy with brisk winds.

This year, with all of the persimmons availing themselves in the northern reaches of the Ozarks, I've cut into several seeds to find a spoon. Repeatedly, a spoon, a forecast of heavy, wet snow for the winter months. While this forecast bodes well for aerial censuses of deer across the landscape, heavy, wet snow is not a great forecast for much needed prescribed fire. 2012 was a wash with the politicization of prescribed fire and wildfire threat, so hopefully this fall will be clement enough and filled with fall days that fall within prescription for fire. The Ozarks are behind schedule, and a forecast of heavy, wet snow is really not what I had hoped to see in the persimmon seed. While I like to put faith in folklore, I hope this time that the forecast is wrong.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

My husband has always loved checking the seeds for the winter forecast - I'll have to show him your post! At our house the raccoons get the persimmons before they hit the ground, it seems.

Allison Vaughn said...

What's interesting is that different parts of the state have different shapes. I picked one up lately that had a fork. The ones I have are from the northern reaches of the Ozarks and outer Ozark Border...

Justin R. Thomas said...

Persimmons in Dent County have HUGE spoons. Bring it on!

Allison Vaughn said...

Like I said above, snow is good for deer counts, bad for fire. Glad you're in the spirit for heavy snow and long dark periods with a good port or highball of rum...

Anonymous said...

What is the best way to split open a persimmon seed?

Allison Vaughn said...

Steak knives with a bit of a serrated edge work the best. Split down the middle along the seam where the root would come out were it going to be in soil.