By Phran Novelli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Glistening pinecones with what look like icicles hanging on an evergreen tree, reflecting the shining sun. Sounds like a chilly scene of winter, doesn’t it? But that’s what I saw on a recent walk through the park on a hot July day. It wasn’t ice that was shimmering in the sunlight, but rather sap, dripping down the cones dangling from a majestic pine tree.
The Eastern White Pine is a native tree that grows to be 20-to-40-feet wide and twice as tall, providing a great wind-break, and plenty of shade. An evergreen that’s often used as a Christmas tree when young, you’ll notice if you look closely that its long needles are grouped in clusters of five, to help you identify it
The tree’s seeds—or rather pine nuts—are food for squirrels, bunnies, bears and all kinds of beautiful birds who flock to enjoy the cover of a White Pine as a nesting site. Including Bald Eagles!
White pine cones take well over a year to mature, and so now in the heat of summer, you can see the still-green cones with sticky resin dripping down their sides, decorating the tree in a refreshingly wintry way.