(Image credit: gutaper)

Humans have meteorologists to help determine when weather will become wet, but plants don't have that advantage. Fortunately, Mother Nature has outfitted many of our flora with ways to forecast weather. Plants that predict the weather show a response to changes in moisture, air pressure, temperature, and other variables. Much of our traditional weather lore has been built on observing these responses. 

We as a species have been watching our environment and its denizens for as long as we walked upright for the first time. Much can be inferred from animal and plant behavior. The weather sayings from our fore-parents had meaning to them at the time, but can also translate to present day predictions. Wonder why leaves turn upside down before it rains? There is likely some ancient weather lore referencing that exact occurrence. 

Is There Something to Weather Sayings? 

The old adage that begins, "red skies at night, sailor's delight" is an old weather related advisory. There are plenty of these peppering our daily speech. We even have a specific day that may influence our weather, in the form of Groundhog Day. So obviously, people have wanted to predict the weather since our time began. Interestingly, such sayings may bear fruit... literally. A tree that is laden heavily with fruit may be trying to increase its ability to survive by developing many seeds to continue the line. The event has been interpreted to mean a long, hard winter, and indeed, is often the case. Our observations about the natural world and the correlation to weather events seems to have some veracity. 

Persimmon Seed Weather Predictions

Wondering, “Why do leaves turn upside down when it rains?” or why tulips close up when bad weather occurs, is a human condition. We are a curious group but also superstitious, and controlling. We also like to be prepared for changes in our environment. One ancient way of predicting weather is through persimmon seed weather form. Source a locally grown American persimmon and cut it in half and remove a seed. Cut this in half. If the seed is fork shaped we are going to have a mild winter. A spoon shape indicates a lot of snow, while a knife shape predicts a bitterly cold winter. Do these predictions work? About as often as our groundhog's shadow is accurate. 

Plants That Predict Winter

Traditional weather lore is based upon observations. Plants have developed and evolved over time to react to their own observations of weather change. Pinecones change due to the presence of moisture. A dry period causes open scales, while wet periods keep the cone tightly bound. Morning Glory petals will be open during nice days, but close tightly when rain comes rolling in. Many plants such as dandelions, clover, and chickweed respond similarly. Leaves on many deciduous trees and shrubs will flip over before it rains. This is because the air becomes more humid and the leaves become more limp and easily flipped over by the wind. Dry grass, untouched by morning dew, predicts rain in the evening. Our natural world has plenty of ways it can indicate changes. All we need to do is watch. 

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.