Strobile Science

I pass this dwarf mountain pine on my walk often and the cones brought to mind a poem I posted in August last year, about the logarithmic spiral in ‘The Order of the Spiral’. [1] This species of Pine is a very adaptable sort, it survives in full sun and well drained loamy soil. It is also tolerant of clay and sandy soils which are quite extreme for a Gymnosperm like this. Although it thrives in regions of high elevation, it can survive maritime exposure and grows in coastal areas. One wouldn’t think much of this unassuming Pine that cries in terpene every time the rain washes over its needles that can also stain green. The turpentine that can be distilled from its oleo-resin has antiseptic properties. The essential oils in its branches are of medicinal value in a wide variety of respiratory ailments. The substance left from the resin after the extraction of turpentine is called Rosin and I never knew it was a component of sealing wax and varnish. The next time I pass this plant, I ought to express some gratitude for I love working varnish onto wood.

Pinecones are quite strange in that they can stay on pine trees for up to ten years before falling off. The seeds are enclosed within the scales and they remain tightly shut in inhospitable weather i.e. when it’s cold and damp. It is only in hot and dry weather that they will open to allow the release of seeds to seek new ground to germinate in [3].

It was an unusual theme to the poem today, that unfolded thus in bracts and spiralled in the fashion of pine cones. The glow bugs of the evening twinkled like stars on dusk grass and wove themselves right in.

The cone or strobile of Pinus mugo mugo or a Dwarf Mountain Pine
Strobile Science

An entropy of sorts, meanders
through a whimsy breeze
to blitz an yielding grass.
Newton never quite
pine cones falling,
for aren't they
wooden reliquaries
of passions enclosed
in bracts?
He sought solace under
the soft of an apple tree.
So, within rhyme, they reason
they are in opposition
to the gravitas of gravity, 
for their spirals are a golden ratio,
kissing earth.
It's strobile science,
bract within bract within bract,
hiding spirals in plain sight.
The needles of the trees
shed in virgules
to punctuate a funereal prosody.
The wind waves it past the marsh
wrinkling water steeped
in deathly leaves.
It is sublime.
I think it is sublime,
when spirit
seeks to unlock cosmic code
in evening stars that drip 
off evergreen trees
in a flickering urge
to urgently flick, the knell,
on ripened passions.
The star struck glow bugs
in this purposeful evening,
illumined that. which recessed
deep within the spirit,
lay bracted and spiralled -
those grave renunciations.
Cone or Strobile ~ scaly multiple fruit


[1]~The Order of the Spiral ~