Climate and Weather

Weather Prediction

Are there trees that predict the weather and tell time?

Observing the leaves of a tree may be an old-fashioned method of predicting the weather, but farmers have noted that when maple leaves curl and turn bottom up in a blowing wind, rain is sure to follow. Woodsmen claim they can tell how rough a winter is going to be by the density of lichens on a nut tree. Trees can also be extraordinary timekeepers: Griffonia, in tropical west Africa, has 2-inch (5-centimeter) inflated pods that burst with a hearty noise, indicating that it is time for farmers of the Accra Plains to plant crops; Trichilia is a 60-foot (18-meter) tree that flowers in February and again in August, signaling that it is time, just before the second rains arrive, for the second planting of corn. In the Fiji Islands, planting yams is cued by the flowering of the coral tree.


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