The seed begins life in a tiny cone about the size of a grain of wheat. The tree has both male and female cones. In mid to late winter the male cones release
pollen to fertilize the tiny female cones. The female cones are a lot smaller than the male cones. The cones are about 2.5 inches long and 1.75 in width. The average full grown tree has
about 10,000 cones with about 2 million seeds.
The cones donít just fall off the tree, the Douglas squirrel eats the fleshy part of the cone and leaves the seed. When they eat the fleshy part they drop the seed from their mouth. It has to hit the soil for the seed to grow, but sometimes it doesnít. It might fall on a bunch of pines, leaves, or branches, then it would not grow.
When we have a fire in the park it clears off everything on the ground. The heat rises and it dries out
the top of the tree and the cones fall and the animals donít have to do the work.
If the seed hits the soil it still doesnít mean it will automatically grow. It can die from the dry soil, if the leaves bury it, root fungi, and animals. For
the seedling to grow it needs plenty of sunlight and plenty of leaves around it. It is very hard for the seedling to get sunlight when it has so many very big trees surrounding it and blocking it.
When the seed grows it goes through several stages. The seedling will start to grow a little root. When it starts to rise the shell will pop off and then the
tree starts to grow.