What Do Pine Tree Seeds Look Like? Do Pine Cones Have Seeds?

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What do pine tree seeds look like?

You can see them in the image above and the images below!

A pine tree seed is not a pine cone. That’s just PART of the dispersion method.

The pine cone holds pine tree seeds and helps them to get out into the world.

Do Pine Cones Have Seeds?

Pine cones releasing seed
Pine cones drying and opening in the sun

Yes, pine cones have seeds inside the cone.

The seeds can only be released or accessed when the pine cone opens up.

We have a lot of Pinus radiata in our area and we collect them for burning in the wood stove and fire pit. To dry them out I lay them on the concrete in the sun.

After two or three days in the sun, they go from being completely closed to wide open.

What pine tree seeds look like

As they open up, they release a seed from each scute – the “fins” which open up.

The seed itself is small, round, and black, but it’s held with a lightweight feathery casing for dispersal.

It’s a fascinating design, and, as you can imagine, each pine cone has A LOT of seeds. This is why in areas with large pine plantations you end up with wilding pine problems.

These are self-seeded pines that take over the landscape. Each pine tree produces so many pine cones each year, and each pine cone has so many seeds, all with a very fruitful dispersion feature.

In the case of the pine tree seeds you see pictured above, the birds got all of them. They absolutely love searching them out.

They only eat the black seed itself and leave behind the papery tail.

Pinus Radiata Seeds

That’s what pinus radiata seeds look like, but other species of pine have different seeds.

For example, species like pinus koraiensis, pinus pinea, or pinus coulteri (and a dozen others) have the more commonly known pine nuts which are used in cooking and baking.

Pine nuts are also a pine tree seed, just a different variety. While radiata seeds are no good for cooking and eating, pine nuts are delicious!

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