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Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT)– Tuesday is the first official full day of fall, but residents in the Tennessee Valley are already talking a lot more about winter. We’ve been getting a lot of pictures and questions about persimmon seeds–and what they mean for the upcoming winter.

According to weather folklore, the seed of a persimmon can give clues about an upcoming winter’s weather.

There are already a lot of persimmons on the ground at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. We wanted to cut several seeds open to see what we could find, and see if all the seeds produced the same shape.

The white, fibrous structure you see when you cut a persimmon’s seed open is actually the root– and the shape of the root, according to the myth, is what signals the type of winter weather to expect.

Cutting the seeds open was not an easy task.

Vice President of Horticulture and Education at Huntsville Botanical Garden Harvey Cotten says it’s still a little early to be trying to cut the seeds open, and that if you’ve got some persimmon seeds you want to cut open, let them dry first.

Cotten also said that the roots within the seed are just now beginning to “take shape,” so it may be hard to tell what you’re looking at.

According to the myth, the seed’s root will either resemble a spoon, fork, or a knife. A lot of the roots we saw seemed to resemble spoons.

Photo: WHNT News 19
Photo: WHNT News 19

The myth says a root in the shape of a spoon signals a “snowy” winter. If the root looks like a knife, it will be an icy winter. A fork is rumored to signal a mild winter.

It should be noted that in an average winter, Huntsville receives around two-and-a-half inches of snow. Many would consider that an already-snowy winter–so does the spoon reveal it should be snowier than average?

We did a similar story in 2012 and a majority of the seed’s roots resembled spoons. Climate data from the following winter (Dec. ’12-Feb. ’13) revealed only a trace of snow in both December and February, and seven-tenths of an inch in January– not very snowy at all. We also looked at the average high temperature of each of the months: December 59 degrees, January 54 degrees, and February 54 degrees.

Other myths involving nature surrounding winter weather involve “white wooly worms,” and some people believe that if oak trees produce a larger-than-normal acorn crop, that is a sign of a cold winter to come.

Have you wondered how the three shapes– the fork, knife, and spoon– came about? Cotten told us that the spoon would be used to “dig out” of a snowy winter, a knife would cut through you like an icy wind, and a fork maybe meant you would have “good eats” in a mild winter.