From Xplor for Kids
August 2011 Issue

Xplor More: Ask a Persimmon

Publish Date

Aug 01, 2011

Will Winter be cold and snowy? Ask a Persimmon.

Toward the end of September, in forests and fencerows throughout Missouri, plum-sized orange persimmons begin to ripen and drop from the branches of their knobby-barked trees. Animals love to eat persimmons. You probably will, too— if the persimmons are ripe. If they aren’t, one bite will make your mouth pucker like you drank a whole jar of pickle juice. When a persimmon feels squishy, it’s ready to eat.

Squishy Orange Weather Forecasters

Some people claim you can forecast winter’s weather by splitting a persimmon seed into two thin halves. The white embryo inside— that’s the part that would grow into a new tree—will be shaped like a spoon, knife or fork.

Slice a Seed, Not Your Finger

Persimmon seeds fresh out of the fruit are as slippery as buttered bullfrogs. Trying to cut one with a knife is a good way to slice your finger. To keep your digits intact, let your persimmon seeds dry in the sun for a few days. Then, use a pair of pliers to squeeze each seed. They should split right open.

  • A spoon—like a mini snow shovel— indicates there will be lots of snow.
  • A fork forecasts a pleasant, mild winter. Sorry, no snow days.
  • A knife predicts frigid winds that will cut through your coat like a blade.

Write your persimmon prediction down and check back to see if your seeds were right.

Also in this issue

Photos With Nop and Dave: Starry Night

Starry Night Dave Stonner reached the summit of Stegall Mountain at sunset. He’d been hiking since daybreak, up and down 15 miles of hilly Ozark terrain. The straps of his backpack, weighted by heavy camping and photography gear, dug into his shoulders. His feet hurt. His legs wobbled. Dave was tired.

You Discover

With summer winding down and autumn gearing up, there’s plenty to discover outside in August and September. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Wild Jobs: Darter Diver Doug Novinger

This scientist searches streams for one of Missouri’s rarest fishes.

My Outdoor Adventure

Jacob Moore prowled the fields and creeks around his house looking for frogs, lizards and snakes. He wanted to be a reptile and amphibian biologist when he grew up.

The Underworld

Nature uses every nook and cranny—even the ground underfoot. Hidden from view but often just inches below the surface, animals search for food, raise their babies, escape the weather and hide from predators. Want to shed some light on these creatures of the underworld? Then watch your step, and let’s head down to nature’s basement.

Having a Blast

For end-of-summer fun, nothing beats a dove hunt.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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